Jupiter's North Equatorial Belt expansion and thermal wave activity ahead of Juno's arrival

L. N. Fletcher, G. S. Orton, J. A. Sinclair, P. Donnelly, H. Melin, J. H. Rogers, T. K. Greathouse, Y. Kasaba, T. Fujiyoshi, T. M. Sato, J. Fernandes, P. G.J. Irwin, R. S. Giles, A. A. Simon, M. H. Wong, M. Vedovato

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


The dark colors of Jupiter's North Equatorial Belt (NEB, 7–17°N) appeared to expand northward into the neighboring zone in 2015, consistent with a 3–5 year cycle. Inversions of thermal-IR imaging from the Very Large Telescope revealed a moderate warming and reduction of aerosol opacity at the cloud tops at 17–20°N, suggesting subsidence and drying in the expanded sector. Two new thermal waves were identified during this period: (i) an upper tropospheric thermal wave (wave number 16–17, amplitude 2.5 K at 170 mbar) in the mid-NEB that was anticorrelated with haze reflectivity; and (ii) a stratospheric wave (wave number 13–14, amplitude 7.3 K at 5 mbar) at 20–30°N. Both were quasi-stationary, confined to regions of eastward zonal flow, and are morphologically similar to waves observed during previous expansion events.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7140-7148
Number of pages9
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Jul 28


  • atmospheres, chemistry
  • atmospheres, dynamics
  • infrared
  • Jupiter
  • remote sensing


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