What is the explanation for why hurricanes/storms on Jupiter last longer than Earth's?

I'm guessing this relates to the chemical makeup of the atmosphere that's very different from Earth's, but I'm not sure.

On Earth as you know, the largest hurricanes only last a few days to a little over a week max.

On Jupiter, for example, the "Great Red Spot" has been spinning for a few centuries (estimate).

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  • Mike
    Lv 7
    7 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    A few different reasons that all combine.

    The chemical makeup actually has very little to do with it.

    First, Jupiter is quite large - - once a storm gets started, it has a *lot* of energy involved - and will take a lot to dissipate.

    Further, because it is a gas giant, there are not the land-masses that storms on Earth have to contend with. (Have you noticed that when a hurricane comes over land, it tends to lose energy? That doesn't happen if you don't have land to worry about...)

    Related to this - Jupiter's atmosphere is *deep* - - so energy can feed into these storms from the depths of this atmospheric 'well'. Earth hurricanes gain a large measure of their energy from the heat of the ocean. Which indicates that there will tend to be 'storm seasons' on Earth - which is just what we see.

    It appears that distance from the Sun might also have an effect. While the Sun's energy is a major requirement into 'kick-starting' these storms, it is also a source for energy that can create counter-turbulence which can eventually reduce such storms.

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  • 7 years ago

    The larger storms consume and feed off of the smaller ones, which is what keeps them going and sometimes growing.

    Jupiter has a lot of different weather bands moving in opposite directions, so there's no chance for a storm, once started, to lose steam by drifting off too far north or south. It's forced to stay within the narrow range of the weather band, which is just like a supercharged jet stream. Each of these jet streams carry thousands of storms within, and these storms don't really have the option of getting out of the way of the other. This is why they merge. This is why the Great Red Spot is so big. This is why it has lasted centuries.

    So in a nutshell, the great red spot isn't the one same storm that has lasted hundreds of years. It's just a location where many smaller storms keep feeding together. The same thing happens on Earth sometimes (see: The Perfect Storm), although here on Earth they eventually die off.

    Side note: A lot of people are using a hurricane reference, which is fine, but you don't need a land mass to kill a hurricane. All you need to do is remove the warm tropical waters it feeds off of (lots of hurricanes die off in the cooler Atlantic without ever hitting land). Hurricane Sandy, for example, wasn't a powerful hurricane (it was only a Cat 1 when hitting NJ). What made it so bad was that it combined with a low pressure system at the same time as high tide, and it did so under a full moon when tides are even higher than normal to begin with. This combination, not the hurricane itself, is what caused the kind of flooding (and the damage that followed) this area hasn't seen in centuries.

    This is essentially what's happening on Jupiter. The sheer number of storms are high and these powerful, fueling situations continuously combine together to keep these storms alive and in many cases growing.

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  • 7 years ago

    According to Pat Robertson, hurricanes happen because of gay marriage. Presumably, the people eventually repent, and then the hurricanes come to an end. No word on why hurricanes happen on other planets.

    I'm not a meteorologist, but I would guess the scientific explanations are as follows:

    *Earth's surface is mostly water, and the ocean currents carry huge amounts of thermal energy from the equator to the poles. This cools down the equator and warms up the poles. Storms are fueled by temperature differences so storms are less powerful on Earth.

    *Earth rotates on its axis every 24 hours. The same side of the Earth doesn't face the sun long enough to get significantly warmer than the other side. Other planets have longer days and thus less storms.

    *The majority of Earth's air exists within 5-10 miles of Earth's surface or less. This makes storms less powerful. On planets like Jupiter, that have an atmosphere tens of thousands of miles thick, storms tend to grow much more powerful

    I tend to go with the scientific explanations.

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  • 7 years ago

    Well, ..., Jupiter is a Gas Giant with no mountains or land masses for for its giant storms to run to. This also creates a consistent heating a cooling environment for natural convection an moister which is the life blood of any great wind storm. Without any thing to disrupt natural convection there is no reason for a storm to subside. One Earth land masses disrupt convection while dry air masses create the wind-sheer necessary to rip the storm apart. That just doesn't exist on Jupiter so storms can lat a really long time and become very powerful

    On earth when a hurricane doesn't encounter wind-sheer and it stays over water where it's natural cycle of convection remains uninterrupted it will be long lived, large, and become very powerful. Hurricanes Sandy, Katrina, and Ike are few recent examples.

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  • 7 years ago

    Jupiter generates far more heat energy internally than it gets from the sun. It's "day" is less than half an Earth day - this generates immense Coriolis forces. The Red Spot is made up of different gases (mostly methane, I think) that aren't mixing with the other gases in the bands. I'm guessing that there's little transfer of energy between the Spot and surrounding gases - so it becomes an almost separate system. There are also no land masses to dissipate the energy.

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  • huang
    Lv 4
    3 years ago

    Does Jupiter Have Storms

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  • cosmo
    Lv 7
    7 years ago

    The Earth analog of the bands of color on Jupiter are the trade winds. These have been stable on Earth for millions of years. Furthermore, the interface between the bands produces regions that have characteristic climate. The Great Red Spot has more in common with, for example, "San Francisco is foggy" than it does with hurricanes.

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  • DLM
    Lv 7
    7 years ago

    The Earth has giant land masses called continents that break up the storm.

    Now, for extra credit... why aren't there hundreds of great red spots on Jupiter???

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  • 7 years ago

    Jupiter is a gas giant planet. Thus there's thousands of times more gas in its atmosphere than Earth.

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  • That's because of Lando Calrissian's Cloud city mining the gas giant.

    Source(s): http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Cloud_City If it's on the interweb it has to be true.
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