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R. V. Yelle, L. A. Young (Boston University), R. E. Young (NASA Ames Research Center)
The temperature profile of Jupiter's middle atmosphere exhibits numerous fluctuations that are likely the manifestation of gravity waves. The amplitude of the temperature perturbations are large enough for non-linear effects on the wave propagation, the interaction among waves, and the interaction between waves and the background atmosphere to be important. As a consequence wave propagation and dissipation affects the energy balance, momentum balance, and diffusion of trace species in the middle atmosphere. We adapt theories for wave-wave interaction developed for the terrestrial atmosphere to Jupiter's atmosphere and extend them to include dissipation by molecular viscosity and thermal conduction. Although definitive conclusions are limited by our knowledge of the wave spectrum on Jupiter, we find that wave-wave interactions in the presence of these molecular effects can explain the observed levels of turbulent mixing and dynamical heating in the middle atmosphere.