Publication Abstracts

Del Genio and Zhou 1996

Del Genio, A.D., and W. Zhou, 1996: Simulations of superrotation of slowly rotating planets: Sensitivity to rotation and initial condition. Icarus, 120, 332-343, doi:10.1006/icar.1996.0054.

We use a simplified terrestrial general circulation model as a nonlinear process model to investigate factors that influence the extent of equatorial superrotation in statically stable atmospheres on slowly rotating planets such as Titan and Venus. The possibility of multiple equilibria is tested by running the same model to equilibrium from vastly different initial conditions. The final state is effectively independent of initial state, reinforcing the impression that equatorial superrotation is inevitable on slowly rotating planets with stable radiative equilibrium structures. Of particular interest is the fact that at Titan rotation, the model equilibriates with strong prograde winds even when initialized with strong retrograde winds. This suggests that reliable remote sensing inferences of latitudinal temperature gradients on Titan can unambiguously be interpreted as evidence for superrotation. We also demonstrate for the first time that significant equatorial superrotation can be produced at Venus' rotation rate in such models, given sufficient numerical precision. The strength of superrotating zonal winds increases with rotation rate in the slowly rotating regime when other parameters are held fixed. However, the efficiency of superrotation relative to the angular momentum of an atmosphere corotating with the solid planet increases with decreasing rotation rate instead, because the Hadley cell strengthens and expands poleward. This allows for the formation of stronger high latitude jets, which ultimately serve as the source for equatorial superrotation via barotropic instability. Estimates of relevant parameter settings for Triton and Pluto tentatively imply that their atmospheres may marginally be in the superrotating regime, but only if temperature decreases with height near the surface. %DO 10.1006/icar.1996.0054

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BibTeX Citation

@article{de05000n,
  author={Del Genio, A. D. and Zhou, W.},
  title={Simulations of superrotation of slowly rotating planets: Sensitivity to rotation and initial condition},
  year={1996},
  journal={Icarus},
  volume={120},
  pages={332--343},
  doi={10.1006/icar.1996.0054},
}

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RIS Citation

TY  - JOUR
ID  - de05000n
AU  - Del Genio, A. D.
AU  - Zhou, W.
PY  - 1996
TI  - Simulations of superrotation of slowly rotating planets: Sensitivity to rotation and initial condition
JA  - Icarus
VL  - 120
SP  - 332
EP  - 343
DO  - 10.1006/icar.1996.0054
ER  -

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