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T.E. Dowling, P.W. Stratman (CPL/U. Louisville), A.P. Showman (NRC/NASA Ames), L.A. Sromovsky (SSEC/U. Wisconsin)
We use the EPIC atmospheric model to study three-dimensional cloud evolution in the vicinity of long-lived anticyclones on Neptune and Jupiter. Our Neptune results support the hypothesis that the bright companions to the Great Dark Spots are methane clouds that form at or just below the tropopause, and that they are caused by lifting in a manner analogous to the formation of orographic clouds. Along an open streamline that threads a bright companion the typical pressure and temperature drops are about 3 mb and 1 K, respectively, corresponding to a lift of about half a kilometer or 4% of a pressure scale height. When a model of the GDS-89 is started with its top in the stratosphere it drifts much too rapidly towards the equator and quickly disperses, whereas when it is started with its top well below the tropopause there is a tendency for the companion clouds to be too large. Hence the top of the GDS-89 was probably at the tropopause. We are examining the evolution of clouds in simulations of particularly large transient events such as the recent merger on Jupiter of the White Ovals BE and FA.
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