New Juno results suggest that the violent thunderstorms taking place in Jupiter’s atmosphere may form ammonia-rich hail, or ‘mushballs’, that play a key role in the planet’s atmospheric dynamics. This theory, developed using data from Juno’s microwave radiometer by the Juno team, is described in two publications led by a researcher at the Laboratoire Lagrange (CNRS/Observatoire de la Côte d’Azur/Université Côte d’Azur) with support from the CNES. The theory sheds light on some puzzling aspects of the meteorology of Jupiter and has implications for how giant planet atmospheres work in general. This, and related findings, are presented in a series of three articles published in the journals Nature and JGR Planets.
Storms and the Depletion of Ammonia in Jupiter: I. Microphysics of “Mushballs”. T. Guillot, D. J. Stevenson, S. K. Atreya, S. J. Bolton, H. N. Becker. JGR Planets, 6 August 2020. DOI: 10.1029/2020JE006403
Storms and the Depletion of Ammonia in Jupiter: II. Explaining the Juno observations. T. Guillot, C. Li, S. J. Bolton, S. T. Brown, A. P. Ingersoll, M. A. Janssen, S. M. Levin, J. I. Lunine, G. S. Orton, P. G. Steffes, D. J. Stevenson. JGR Planets, 6 August 2020. DOI: 10.1029/2020JE006404
Small lightning flashes indicating shallow electrical storms. H. N. Becker, J. W. Alexander, S. K. Atreya, S. J. Bolton, M. J. Brennan, S. T. Brown, A. Guillaume, T. Guillot, A. P. Ingersoll, S. M. Levin1, J. I. Lunine, Y. S. Aglyamov, P. G. Steffes. Nature, 6 August 2020. DOI: 10.1038/s41586-020-2532-1