Large-scale storms shake the atmosphere of Saturn

Large-scale storms shake the atmosphere of Saturn

The huge northern storms on Saturn are capable of disrupting atmospheric patterns on the equatorial line. This is evidenced by information obtained by the mission of Cassini. A similar effect is observed on Earth, which means that there is much more in common between the planets than before.

If we study in detail the atmospheric patterns of Earth, Jupiter and Saturn, we can note common features in the equatorial regions: vertical, cyclic, variable temperature moving downwards and wind systems that recur for several years.

These patterns are called quasi-periodic oscillations (QPO) on Saturn, quasi-double (QQO) on Jupiter and quasi-two years (QBO) on Earth.

Large-scale storms shake the atmosphere of Saturn

Saturn in the observation of the Cassini spacecraft

The earth situation is regular and predictable. On average, it is repeated every 28 months. But this system can be disturbed by events occurring at great distances from the equatorial line. A new study shows that the same thing happens with Saturn.

These fluctuations can be perceived as the heartbeat of the planet. Cassini recorded them 10 years ago, and terrestrial telescopes captured on Jupiter. The apparatus followed Saturn from 2004 to 2017. Researchers looked at the data and noticed a feature that repeats every 15 years. In 2011-2013 the entire equatorial region literally froze. It turned out that this happened immediately after the formation of a large-scale storm that turned around the northern hemisphere. Most likely, the wave activity of the storm went to the equator and violated the QPO. This storm was called the Great North. Similar phenomena on Saturn occur approximately every 30 years. This review showed that there is a strong link between QPO and other atmospheric phenomena.

In this regard, I recall a similar situation on Earth in 2016, when QBO violated the waves transporting momentum from the northern hemisphere to the equator. Moreover, this was not fixed for 60 years. In our case, climate models explain everything. For example, the most influential is the southern oscillation of El Nino, which changes temperatures and climatic situations throughout the planet.

Cassini’s mission is over, but data continues to be explored. Scientists plan to learn more details about Saturn, the gas giants and the system as a whole.

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