Intermittent cumulonimbus activity breaking the three-layer cloud structure of Jupiter

K. Sugiyama, K. Nakajima, M. Odaka, M. Ishiwatari, K. Kuramoto, Y. Morikawa, S. Nishizawa, Y. O. Takahashi, Y. Y. Hayashi

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12 Citations (Scopus)


A long-term numerical simulation is performed to investigate idealized characteristics of the cloud layer of Jupiter's atmosphere using a two-dimensional cloud convection model that treats thermodynamics and microphysics of the three cloud components, H2O, NH3, and NH4SH. A prominent result obtained is intermittent emergence of vigorous cumulonimbus clouds rising from the H2O condensation level to the tropopause. Due to the active transport associated with these clouds, the mean vertical distributions of cloud particles and condensible gases are distinctly different from the hitherto accepted three-layered structure; considerable amounts of H2O and NH4SH cloud particles exist above the NH3 condensation level, while the mixing ratios of all condensible gases decrease with height from the H2O condensation level. The mean vertical profile of NH3 vapor is consistent with the results of radio observations in that the abundance of NH3 is subsolar below the NH3 cloud base.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberL13201
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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