Jovian Temperature and Cloud Variability during the 2009-2010 Fade of the South Equatorial Belt
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Abstract Highlights ? The 2009-10 whitening of Jupiter?s SEB was the first complete SEB life cycle since 1992-1993. ? Upwelling increased the infrared opacity of the SEB several months before the whitening. ? A cool zone-like region formed in Jupiter?s convective troposphere before the visible fade began. ? Enhanced ice condensation likely caused the dramatic clouding over of the SEB. ? The revival required sublimation of these ices to reveal the belts typical brown colours.
Abstract Mid-infrared 7-20 ?m imaging of Jupiter from ESO?s Very Large Telescope (VLT/VISIR) demonstrate that the increased albedo of Jupiter?s South Equatorial Belt (SEB) during the `fade? (whitening) event of 2009-2010 was correlated with changes to atmospheric temperature and aerosol opacity. The opacity of the tropospheric condensation cloud deck at pressures less than 800 mbar increased by 80% between May 2008 and July 2010, making the SEB (7-17?S) as opaque in the thermal infrared as the adjacent equatorial zone. After the cessation of discrete convective activity within the SEB in May 2009, a cool band of high aerosol opacity (the SEB zone at 11-15?S) was observed separating the cloud-free northern and southern SEB components. The cooling of the SEBZ (with peak-to-peak contrasts of 1.0?0.5 K), as well as the increased aerosol opacity at 4.8 and 8.6 ?m, preceded the visible whitening of the belt by several months. A chain of five warm, cloud-free `brown barges? (subsiding airmasses) were observed regularly in the SEB between June 2009 and June 2010, by which time they too had been obscured by the enhanced aerosol opacity of the SEB, although the underlying warm circulation was still present in July 2010. Upper tropospheric temperatures (150-300 mbar) remained largely unchanged during the fade, but the cool SEBZ formation was detected at deeper levels (p>300 mbar) within the convectively unstable region of the troposphere. The SEBZ formation caused the meridional temperature gradient of the SEB to decrease between 2008 and 2010, reducing the vertical thermal windshear on the zonal jets bounding the SEB. The southern SEB had fully faded by July 2010 and was characterised by short-wave undulations at 19-20?S. The northern SEB persisted as a narrow grey lane of cloud-free conditions throughout the fade process. The cool temperatures and enhanced aerosol opacity of the SEBZ after July 2009 are consistent with an upward flux of volatiles (e.g., ammonia-laden air) and enhanced condensation, obscuring the blue-absorbing chromophore and whitening the SEB by April 2010. These changes occurred within cloud decks in the convective troposphere, and not in the radiatively-controlled upper troposphere. NH3 ice coatings on aerosols at p<800 mbar are plausible sources of the suppressed 4.8 and 8.6?m emission, although differences in the spatial distribution of opacity at these two wavelengths suggest that enhanced attenuation by a deeper cloud (p>800 mbar) also occurred during the fade. Revival of the dark SEB coloration in the coming months will ultimately require sublimation of these ices by subsidence and warming of volatile-depleted air.
Affiliation:Atmospheric--> , Oceanic & Planetary Physics--> , Department of Physics--> , University of Oxford--> , Clarendon Laboratory--> , Parks Road--> , Oxford--> , OX1 3PU--> - UNITED KINGDOM (Fletcher, Leigh N.)
UNITED KINGDOM (Fletcher, Leigh N.)
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology - 4800 Oak Grove Drive--> , Pasadena--> , 91109--> - CANADA, UNITED STATES (Orton, G.S.)
British Astronomical Association--> , Burlington House--> , Piccadilly--> , London W1J ODU--> - UNITED KINGDOM (Rogers, J.H.)
NASA/Goddard Spaceflight Center - Greenbelt--> , Maryland--> , 20771--> - UNITED STATES (Simon-Miller, A.A.)
University of California - Berkeley--> , Astronomy Dept.--> , 601 Campbell Hall--> , Berkeley--> , CA 94720-3411--> - UNITED STATES (de Pater, I.)
University of California - Berkeley--> , Astronomy Dept.--> , 601 Campbell Hall--> , Berkeley--> , CA 94720-3411--> - UNITED STATES (Wong, M.H.)
Institut UTINAM, CNRS-UMR 6213, Observatoire de Besancon, Universite de Franche-Comte - Besancon--> - FRANCE (Mousis, O.)
Atmospheric--> , Oceanic & Planetary Physics--> , Department of Physics--> , University of Oxford--> , Clarendon Laboratory--> , Parks Road--> , Oxford--> , OX1 3PU--> - UNITED KINGDOM (Irwin, P.G.J.)
JUPOS Team - C/O British Astronomical Association--> , Burlington House--> , Piccadilly--> , London W1J ODU--> - UNITED KINGDOM (Jacquesson, M.)
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology - 4800 Oak Grove Drive--> , Pasadena--> , 91109--> - CANADA, UNITED STATES (Yanamandra-Fisher, P.A.)
Author: Fletcher, Leigh N.; Orton, G.S.; Rogers, J.H.; Simon-Miller, A.A.; de Pater, I.; Wong, M.H.; Mousis, O.; Irwin, P.G.J.; Jacquesson, M.; Yanamandra-Fisher, P.A.