PAOC Spotlights

MITjcm - Using the MIT General Circulation Model to Model Jupiter

Thu September 30th, 2010
MITgcm News

PAOC alum Yohai Kaspi has been using MITgcm to model the atmosphere on a Jupiter-like gas giant...The circulations on the gas giants are quite different from those in Earth’s atmosphere: The flows are dominantly zonal with only occasional vortices or waves rather than large populations of strong synoptic eddies within meridional flows as large as the zonal ones. The gas giants also have significant internal heat sources and sinks (gravitational collapse and core cooling) besides sharing an external (solar) heat source. While the pioneer and Voyager spacecrafts and the more recent Galileo and Cassini missions have yielded tremendous data bases, many questions such as the energy source, the depth, the stability and the structure of the jets remains unresolved. Taking a conventional release of MITgcm as their starting point, Kaspi and co-workers have developed a new general circulation model to try to understand more fully the role of rotation, a large vertical density gradient, internal heat sources, and their interaction with external solar heating in the context of a Jupiter-like planetary atmosphere.

Kaspi is currently a NOAA Climate and Global Change postdoctoral fellow working with PAOC's Fall 2010 Houghton Lecturer, Tapio Schneider . His thesis title was Turbulent convection in the anelastic rotating sphere : a model for the circulation on the giant planets. Yohai's advisor was Glenn Flierl.

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