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The Formation of large-scale vortices on Jupiter and Saturn

Academic lead
Dr Evy Kersalé, School of Mathematics,
Prof David Hughes, School of Mathematics,, Dr Fryderyk Wilczynski, School of Earth and Environment,, Dr Chris Davies, School of Earth and Environment,
Project themes
Geophysical and Astrophysical Flows

The two images above show large-scale flows structures in the polar regions of Jupiter (L) and Saturn (R). These arise from the interaction between convection and rotation in the stratified outer regions of the planets – regions in which physical properties such as viscosity vary strongly with position. This project will investigate a simplified model that incorporates all of these dynamic features. In particular, we shall consider a two-layer model of rotating convection in which the superposed layers can have very different physical attributes. Whereas both rotating single-layer convection and non-rotating two layer-convection have each received attention, the two aspects have never been studied in conjunction, thus making this research of potential high impact in astrophysical and geophysical fluid dynamics.