How does one know the habitability of a gas planet?

I placed this on the comments page of a web comic I am going through at the moment (don’t ask why, we all have a measure of strangeness that makes us unique.)

How does one know the habitability of a gas planet?
Even the gravitational effects of something like Jupiter are in error. (The 2.2 (or is it 2.4?) g of Jupiter is distributed differently to earth’s.) Also knowledge of the upper atmosphere of large gaseous planets means tiddly-squat about the climate on the ground.~~~~

It occurred to me that some of Jupiter’s weather might be compared to ours:


The Great Red Spot (GRS) is a persistent anticyclonic storm, 22° south of Jupiter’s equator; observations from Earth establish a minimum storm lifetime between 300 and 400 years. It was described as a “permanent spot” by Gian Domenico Cassini after observing the feature in July 1665 with his instrument-maker Eustachio Divini.

According to a report by Giovanni Battista Riccioli in 1635, Leander Bandtius, who possessed an “extraordinary telescope”, observed a large spot that he described as “oval, equalling one seventh of Jupiter’s diameter at its longest.”

The GRS rotates anticlockwise, with a period of about six Earth days or 14 Jovian days. Its dimensions are 24–40,000 km east-to-west and 12–14,000 km north-to-south. The spot is large enough to contain two or three planets the size of Earth. At the start of 2004, the Great Red Spot had approximately half the longitudinal extent it had a century ago, when it was 40,000 km in diameter.

At the present rate of reduction, it could potentially become circular by 2040, although this is unlikely because of the distortion effect of the neighbouring jet streams. It is not known how long the spot will last, or whether the change is a result of normal fluctuations.

Earth has several not very long lasting spots of a similar nature and dimensions:

1516356715166066Obviously these are not anticyclones (although fairly long lasting anticyclones (by the standards of the weather cycles of earth) may be found at earth’s surface.) Such medium to high latitude storms exist on earth for as long as medium strength typhoons and hurricanes are also present.

Large category tropical storms bring with them harmonics from other signals due to their association with high yield volcanic eruptions. The problem is that developing Blocking Anticyclones tend to push aside the normal routes open for medium latitude (extra-tropical) cyclones.

This stuff is as simple or as complex as it needs to be. Let the buyer beware. I should add a glossary for terms like “extra-tropical” and even “cyclones” and “anticyclones” but I am not going to. You have the Internet. Use it!

If you are keen enough on this stuff you will soon learn all about them. There is a limit to how many unusual terms you don’t already know. What I will stress is that at the outer level of the atmosphere things operate differently to the way things happen at sea level. The Met Office charts reproduced here are depictions of the atmosphere at very low level. With exceptional cyclones such as a Category 5 or Super-typhoon, the energy value is increased by the presence of nearby anticyclones in the upper atmosphere.

All I am doing is pointing out that there is a certain harmonic on the earth that induces large northern ocean spots. They are nearly always in the same place.

That’s it.

I was going to close the page there but it occurred to me that it wouldn’t hurt to compare a Cat 5 tropical storm’s harmonic in the North Atlantic:

Halong 3 September 2014. 15.2 N. 133.9 E. Super Typhoon Cat-5

Whilst Bárðarbunga was making daily news for fools, Mount Ontake was preparing to erupt. (I ought to learn how to add videos to this site but there really is no need. If you are interested you will go there and come back. If you are not that interested then you may as well leave now.)

Oops! I nearly forgot:

3 September 2014.FSXX00T_00

3 September 2014.FSXX00T_12

3 September 2014.FSXX00T_24

3 September 2014.FSXX00T_36

3 September 2014.FSXX00T_48

3 September 2014.FSXX00T_60

3 September 2014.FSXX00T_72

3 September 2014.FSXX00T_84

That’s about all I have to say on the matter. I don’t know what is going on at the same time in southern Oceans mainly because they are all one at these latitudes south. Virtually identical phenomena occur in the North Pacific. Obvious difficulties arise when the harmonic and the tropical storm are in the same ocean -but it’s no biggie.

OK here is the harmonic for the Southern Ocean at the same time:

3 September 2014.IDY20001.mslp-precip.006 3 September 2014.IDY20001.mslp-precip.150 3 September 2014.IDY20001.mslp-precip.144 3 September 2014.IDY20001.mslp-precip.138 3 September 2014.IDY20001.mslp-precip.132 3 September 2014.IDY20001.mslp-precip.126 3 September 2014.IDY20001.mslp-precip.120 3 September 2014.IDY20001.mslp-precip.114 3 September 2014.IDY20001.mslp-precip.108 3 September 2014.IDY20001.mslp-precip.102 3 September 2014.IDY20001.mslp-precip.096 3 September 2014.IDY20001.mslp-precip.090 3 September 2014.IDY20001.mslp-precip.084 3 September 2014.IDY20001.mslp-precip.078 3 September 2014.IDY20001.mslp-precip.072 3 September 2014.IDY20001.mslp-precip.066 3 September 2014.IDY20001.mslp-precip.060 3 September 2014.IDY20001.mslp-precip.054 3 September 2014.IDY20001.mslp-precip.048 3 September 2014.IDY20001.mslp-precip.042 3 September 2014.IDY20001.mslp-precip.036 3 September 2014.IDY20001.mslp-precip.030 3 September 2014.IDY20001.mslp-precip.024 3 September 2014.IDY20001.mslp-precip.018 3 September 2014.IDY20001.mslp-precip.012 3 September 2014.IDY20001.mslp-precip.006


I hadn’t realised how dark things were on such occasions. I suppose this now deserves a lot more explanation.

Not on this page though. This is about phenomena related to Jupiter’s Red Spot. Cyclones in the Southern Ocean are peripatetic. If anything they resemble all the other storms of Jupiter but not that one.

The harmonic for tropical storms around Antarctica are parallel isobars following the Antarctic coastline.


2 thoughts on “How does one know the habitability of a gas planet?

  1. The number of charts shown varies with the length of the post. This is nothing to do with my inherent laziness but that the charts don’t show what I wanted to show on the day of the tropical storm shown. The reason for that is called cause and effect.
    I think.

  2. I have just seen the report of this article on my umblr page. It occurs to me I never explained how the facts about Jupiter’s gravity are in error.
    If you were standing on the surface of Jupiter you would be nder tremendous pressure from the weight of the atmosphere above you.
    The magic word easily ignored is
    Wait for it…
    got it?

    Sooner of later when the pressure is at its worst, you will be floating in freefall or wahtever they call it when gravity is equal and opposite in every direction. A rocket fired from the centre of Jupiter won’t have any problems with gravity until it has blown off several stages. (

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