Hurricanes on other planets?

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:55 PM GMT on November 13, 2006

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Saturn has joined Earth as the second planet known to harbor hurricane-like storms in its atmosphere. A huge, clockwise-rotating hurricane-like cyclone with a deep "eye" surrounded by towering "eyewall" clouds was discovered swirling directly over Saturn's south pole by the Cassini spacecraft, NASA announced Thursday. This "Saturnicane" is huge--about 2/3 the diameter of the Earth--and is composed of clouds of liquid ammonia. The 5000-mile diameter storm has an "eyewall" about 185 miles (300 km) across, which surrounds a 930 mile (1500 km) wide "eye". The "eyewall" clouds soar 20-45 miles above the "eye"--about 2-5 times higher than the eyewall clouds of Earthly hurricanes. Winds blow at 350 mph around the storm. I hope we never see a whopper of a storm like that on Earth!


Figure 1. October 11, 2006 "Saturnicane" observed by the Cassini spacecraft over the south pole of Saturn.

The Saturnicane's "eyewall" clouds appear to be formed by convection--the same process that helps form hurricane eyewall clouds on Earth. Heat from below warms the air, generating rising air currents. As this air rises, it expands and cools, condensing the gaseous ammonia into liquid ammonia clouds. NASA scientists speculate that the phenomena only occurs in summer, which is in full swing over Saturn's southern hemisphere at present. It is unclear whether the storm's "eye" and "eyewall" behave in a similar fashion to those features in Earthly hurricanes. The fact that the storm is anchored directly over the south pole and is not composed of water clouds must mean that there are significant differences from the hurricanes we are familiar with. In an interview with Yahoo, astrophysicist Michael Flasar said, "I'm hoping that as we puzzle over it, it will become even more exciting as we start to connect the dots in our brains. But right now, the wheels are a little creaky," Flasar said. "We're all arguing with each other about what it might or might not be."


Figure 1. The relative sizes of Earth (8000 miles in diameter), the October 11, 2006 "Saturnicane" (5000 miles in diameter), and Super Typhoon Tip of 1979 (1400 miles in diameter), the largest tropical cyclone ever observed on Earth.

What about other planets?
Mars also plays host to huge cyclones. These extratropical cyclones have clouds made of water ice, but do not resemble hurricanes. A Martian cyclone 1000 miles in diameter was observed in 1998 by the Hubble Space Telescope. The Great Red Spot on Jupiter is also a storm of huge dimensions with incredible wind speeds, but this storm is not hurricane-like--there is no "eyewall" surrounding a cloud-free "eye".


Figure 2. Martian cyclone 1000 miles in diameter spotted near Mars' north pole by the Hubble Space Telescope on April 27, 1999. Image credit: NASA and hubble.org.

Jeff Masters

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329. HIEXPRESS
4:57 PM GMT on November 15, 2006
It does look stronger. 12:00 EST
"ESTIMATED MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE 975 MB
MAX SUSTAINED WINDS 85 KT WITH GUSTS TO 105 KT."

who has the pool?
Member Since: October 13, 2005 Posts: 4 Comments: 2156
328. Oreodog
4:47 PM GMT on November 15, 2006
Hurricane Sergio Special Discussion Number 8

Statement as of 9:00 am PST on November 15, 2006



this special advisory is being issued to reflect that Sergio has
intensified to 85 knots. This is based on the development of a
pinhole eye and objective Dvorak-T-numbers. The intensity forecast
has been a conservatively adjusted accordingly and the initial and
12 hour wind radii have been expanded. No change in forecast track
is indicated.

A PINHOLE EYE!!
327. hurricane23
4:41 PM GMT on November 15, 2006
Here's one more from NRL...

Click on thumbnail for larger image
Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
Member Since: May 14, 2006 Posts: 8 Comments: 13626
326. hurricane23
4:35 PM GMT on November 15, 2006
Good afternoon,

Here are a couple of picks of Hurricane Sergio as its CDO becomes more cymetrical with time.




Member Since: May 14, 2006 Posts: 8 Comments: 13626
324. Patrap
4:08 PM GMT on November 15, 2006
New Tornado watch Boxes..as it moves up and east.Link
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 420 Comments: 127543
323. Patrap
3:58 PM GMT on November 15, 2006
We will Gator.Lotsa rain now.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 420 Comments: 127543
322. ProgressivePulse
3:58 PM GMT on November 15, 2006
Eyewall Clearing out in Sergio!
Member Since: August 19, 2005 Posts: 5 Comments: 5039
321. Gatorgrrrl
3:56 PM GMT on November 15, 2006
Pat it looks awful....just looked at Mobal's blog...BE CAREFUL!!
Member Since: September 24, 2013 Posts: 0 Comments: 0
320. Patrap
3:55 PM GMT on November 15, 2006
We Okay here..Now just heavy rains...hope to get my Sons football game in at 2:30cst.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 420 Comments: 127543
318. sdcbassman
3:43 PM GMT on November 15, 2006
Morning all ... Pat ... please take cover ... looks nasty for you over there! Also .. all clear on the tsunami in Japan ... they had 6 events ... highest was like 12-16 inches. Very good news.
Member Since: August 27, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 132
317. FLCrackerGirl
3:15 PM GMT on November 15, 2006
Take Care PAT.
Thanks ALL for Severe Weather Info.
You'All Rock!
FRAN
Member Since: August 12, 2004 Posts: 47 Comments: 597
316. Patrap
2:53 PM GMT on November 15, 2006
May have to shut down again.No surge protection for my PC here in the trailer.Think we will ride this one out inside the house.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 420 Comments: 127543
315. HIEXPRESS
2:52 PM GMT on November 15, 2006
Sorry, lightning link above was OOS
Member Since: October 13, 2005 Posts: 4 Comments: 2156
314. Patrap
2:51 PM GMT on November 15, 2006
Im in a break now..with round two coming..Link
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 420 Comments: 127543
313. Skyepony (Mod)
2:46 PM GMT on November 15, 2006
Patrap~ The scary part for those to the east of you is how severe your having it...without the effects of daytime heating.
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 161 Comments: 37336
312. Patrap
2:41 PM GMT on November 15, 2006
Heres the Posted WU page for the area.Link
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 420 Comments: 127543
311. Patrap
2:39 PM GMT on November 15, 2006
GAle Warnings now Posted here Skye..till 6pm.For Lake Mauerpas and Lake Ponchatrain.Land areas too.Thats a blowing.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 420 Comments: 127543
310. Patrap
2:36 PM GMT on November 15, 2006
I'll suppose those damage reports to get longer in a hurry.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 420 Comments: 127543
309. Patrap
2:35 PM GMT on November 15, 2006
Rough day all around Skyepony..This line ..or system pushing lotsa winds down to the surface.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 420 Comments: 127543
308. Skyepony (Mod)
2:34 PM GMT on November 15, 2006
I'm leaving the SPC link to the damage reports...they are rolling in already.

bbl
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 161 Comments: 37336
307. Skyepony (Mod)
2:31 PM GMT on November 15, 2006
noticed the fsu page wasn't up to date on gfs & nogaps..look here for current.
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 161 Comments: 37336
306. Skyepony (Mod)
2:30 PM GMT on November 15, 2006
Morning all..
Randrewl you seen our local Hazard? Middle of the night for us, may be worth taking a nap.

Dr Masters may get some rough weather as well..suppose he's tent camping?

Hope no tsunomis come of that quake.
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 161 Comments: 37336
305. HIEXPRESS
2:29 PM GMT on November 15, 2006
Link Removed / Broken
Member Since: October 13, 2005 Posts: 4 Comments: 2156
304. Patrap
2:27 PM GMT on November 15, 2006
Possible Tornadoes on N shore Lake.Washington & Tangipahoa Parishes.Lotsa wind translating down with these storms.SOn has 2;30 pm kickoff.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 420 Comments: 127543
303. Patrap
2:25 PM GMT on November 15, 2006
Im at the 9oclock postion..in the Circle..Link
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 420 Comments: 127543
302. Patrap
2:23 PM GMT on November 15, 2006
IM back..lost power..Im getting Hammered..Tops to 40KLink
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 420 Comments: 127543
301. HIEXPRESS
2:20 PM GMT on November 15, 2006
Some ominous looking radar returns with that line in MS coming into Panhandle FL, "S"hooks, tops 54,000'
WV - Battle Zone
Member Since: October 13, 2005 Posts: 4 Comments: 2156
300. Thundercloud01221991
2:00 PM GMT on November 15, 2006
West coast is under a Tsunami advisory and from Seatle North a Tsunami watch prepare NOW
Member Since: August 1, 2006 Posts: 28 Comments: 3716
299. HIEXPRESS
1:57 PM GMT on November 15, 2006
Patrap how did your area make out with the storms?
Member Since: October 13, 2005 Posts: 4 Comments: 2156
298. Patrap
1:39 PM GMT on November 15, 2006
How bout ya sandcrab.You around lurking or Working?...Come bac..
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 420 Comments: 127543
297. Patrap
1:32 PM GMT on November 15, 2006
Severe warnings page ..Link
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 420 Comments: 127543
296. CybrTeddy
1:09 PM GMT on November 15, 2006

this dosent show the eye but if you scroll up
and look at images that have arlready been posted u will see an eye.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 23565
295. CybrTeddy
1:04 PM GMT on November 15, 2006
Look at the latist satillite imagines on Serico!!!! Im 100% sure theres an eye starting to open up! I wont be suprized to see this be
a Hurricane by next advisory.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 23565
294. 1900hurricane
12:39 PM GMT on November 15, 2006
If there is anyone here that is located directly on the west coast, be ready to evacuate! It may turn out to be a false alarm, but if it isn't, even from across the Pacific, an 8.1 magnitude earthquake can produce a huge tsunami!

: (

Gotta go to school now!
Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 46 Comments: 11665
293. HIEXPRESS
12:21 PM GMT on November 15, 2006
Posted By: pottery at 6:18 AM (& discussed by others)
"next season.........will it, wont it be a bad/good one as far as tropical storm activity is concerned. The historical info re. el nino/ la nina would tend to show"

In case you haven't seen it, you will be interested to read the text of Drs. Klotzbach and Gray's EXTENDED RANGE FORECAST OF ATLANTIC SEASONAL HURRICANE ACTIVITY AND U.S. LANDFALL STRIKE PROBABILITY FOR 2006 as updated periodically, especially the explanation of their methodology.

Read their:

Early 2006 - with the discussion of their methodology

Update through September discussing LAter ElNino developments.

As they tell it, ENSO is just one factor, albeit a big one.

Very enlightening.
Member Since: October 13, 2005 Posts: 4 Comments: 2156
292. HIEXPRESS
11:57 AM GMT on November 15, 2006
TOKYO, Japan (AP) -- Japan's Meteorological Agency has issued a tsunami warning after an earthquake with preliminary magnitude 8.1 hit the Kuril islands north of Japan.

The quake struck about 390 kilometers east of the Etorofu islands north of Japan at 1115 GMT Wednesday, according to the agency.

A tsunami of about 2 meters (6.5 feet) or more could hit the Pacific coast of Japan's northernmost island of Hokkaido and main island of Honshu after 1210 GMT, the agency said.

The agency told residents along Japan's Pacific coast to flee to higher ground
Member Since: October 13, 2005 Posts: 4 Comments: 2156
291. pottery
11:18 AM GMT on November 15, 2006
Re: the discussion on next season.........will it, wont it be a bad/good one as far as tropical storm activity is concerned. The historical info re. el nino/ la nina would tend to show that the season ought to be relatively quiet, but I cant help feeling that the history of weather,as it pertains to forecasting, is becoming more irrelevant, due to changes in the overall conditions of the factors that drive tropical storms ( and all weather ) In short, there has NEVER been a period like this before, where the atmosphere has been in this current condition, and it is continually changing. Our knowlege of weather systems has huge gaps in it, because the rules are changing and we have not got enough info to make factual assesment. I would not be suprised to see the weather continue to bamboozle us, until we understand what effect we are having on it.....
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24022
290. PensacolaDoug
11:11 AM GMT on November 15, 2006
Supposed to be windy and stormy here today. Tornado watches, large hail and wind 25 - 35 with gust to 45....Go figure.
Member Since: July 25, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 551
289. pottery
10:48 AM GMT on November 15, 2006
...oooops, sorry.
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24022
288. pottery
10:46 AM GMT on November 15, 2006
Mornin, Rand. Its a glorious one....................
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24022
287. pottery
10:43 AM GMT on November 15, 2006
Mornin, Rand. Its a glorious one..........
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24022
286. Randrewl
7:09 AM GMT on November 15, 2006
Other than that...the NHC is not speaking and the surface charts do not support anything right now.
Maybe Friday.....maybe.
Member Since: June 8, 2006 Posts: 114 Comments: 31553
285. Randrewl
7:01 AM GMT on November 15, 2006
The Canadian is the only global still showing a Western Carib system. The GFS and NOGAPS have both backed off for the last two runs.
GFS has whatever it is rolling into the EPAC after two runs.
Here's the 00Z Canadian out to 126 hours. That's the only global working this right now.




Member Since: June 8, 2006 Posts: 114 Comments: 31553
284. Randrewl
6:34 AM GMT on November 15, 2006
You guys are whacked!
Member Since: June 8, 2006 Posts: 114 Comments: 31553
283. TayTay
6:14 AM GMT on November 15, 2006
I see a rapid intensification coming.
282. Skyepony (Mod)
4:23 AM GMT on November 15, 2006
TROPICAL STORM SERGIO FORECAST/ADVISORY NUMBER 5
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL EP212006
0300 UTC WED NOV 15 2006

TROPICAL STORM CENTER LOCATED NEAR 12.8N 104.3W AT 15/0300Z
POSITION ACCURATE WITHIN 20 NM

PRESENT MOVEMENT IS STATIONARY

ESTIMATED MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE 994 MB
MAX SUSTAINED WINDS 55 KT WITH GUSTS TO 65 KT.

REQUEST FOR 3 HOURLY SHIP REPORTS WITHIN 300 MILES OF 12.8N 104.3W

NEXT ADVISORY AT 15/0900Z

$$
FORECASTER RHOME
link to the full including forecast

Ship report~ there has only been 1 in the last 6 hrs.

Patrap~ I died 3 times over til I landed the apollo.
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 161 Comments: 37336
281. Patrap
3:40 AM GMT on November 15, 2006
Try your Skill...Link
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 420 Comments: 127543
280. Skyepony (Mod)
3:19 AM GMT on November 15, 2006
Wandered off to NOVA, the 2nd 1/2 of the show after it has some great stuff on lightning.

Come on MichaelSTL:)...I'm citing NOAA & your citing Wikipedia...

HIEXPRESS~ Read on the top of that NOAA link Blue is la nina, red el nino & unhighlighted is nuetral... -5/+5 being the cut off. But a condition above or below that has to exist constantly for 5 consecutive sets of 3 months. They aren't measured by each month, but a blend of data over 3 months to get each set of #s. Most of last 'cane season was neutral with the end being on the cold end, tripping into what looked like a fast & stong La Nina. That -.7 for NDJ (nov, dec, jan) of last & start of this year may have helped extend the last 'cane season with some late storms. It was a reason of gloom & doom at the time for this cane season. But it never even developed into an "official" La Nina, since it only lasted 3 sets of months.

& yes there is some la ninas that lasted 2 years, but I don't see any El Ninos...which is what I was discussing.

Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 161 Comments: 37336
279. HIEXPRESS
3:13 AM GMT on November 15, 2006
10PM - Sergio
ESTIMATED MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE 994 MB
MAX SUSTAINED WINDS 55 KT WITH GUSTS TO 65 KT.

It's the storm before the calm.
Member Since: October 13, 2005 Posts: 4 Comments: 2156

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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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