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R. Hueso, A. Sanchez-Lavega (UPV)
The formation and evolution of convective clouds in the atmosphere of Saturn is investigated using an anelastic three-dimensional time-dependent model with parameterized microphysics. The model is designed to study the development of moist convection on any of the four giant planets and has been previously used to investigate the formation of water convective storms in the jovian atmosphere.
The role of water and ammonia in moist convection is investigated with varying deep concentrations. Results imply that most of the convective activity observed at Saturn may occur at the ammonia cloud deck while the formation of water moist convection may happen only when very strong constraints on the lower troposphere are met.
Ammonia storms can ascend to the 300 mb level with vertical velocities around 30 ms-1. The seasonal effect on the thermal profile at the upper troposphere may have important effects on the development of ammonia storms.
In the cases where water storms can develop they span many scale heights with peak vertical velocities around 160 ms-1 and cloud particles can be transported up to the 150 mb level. These predicted characteristics are similar to the Great White Spots observed in Saturn which, therefore, could be originated at the water cloud base level.
This work has been supported by Gobierno Vasco PI 1997-34. R. Hueso acknowledges a PhD fellowship from Gobierno Vasco.
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