Jupiter's Climate Mystery Solved (Maybe)

New research from the US points to small fluffy particles, like what you find in haze, as the reason the sun's heat gets trapped in Jupiter's atmosphere.

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Using observations from NASA’s Voyager and Cassini spacecrafts, the researchers show that gases alone cannot account for the heat trapped in Jupiter’s atmosphere and suggest that small particles known as aerosols play a dominant role.

Based on these results, scientists suggest that Jupiter’s atmosphere has a different energy regime to that of Earth.

Energy flows in the atmosphere of Jupiter

In Earth’s atmosphere, aerosols play an important role -- affecting the amount of solar radiation transferred to and from the Earth’s surface and influencing climate -- but their influence on the climate of giant planets has been unclear up to now.

Although the current study focuses on Jupiter, it may help to shed light on the atmospheres of other planets in the Solar System -- such as Saturn, Uranus and Neptune -- as well as planets outside of our Solar System. Earth 2.0, we are getting closer.

The research suggests that aerosols may affect the climate evolution and distribution of energy from the Sun in other giant planets, and may also have been important in the atmosphere of the early Earth.

[Springer Nature]