EGU General Assembly 2022
© Author(s) 2022. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Upscale and forward transfer of kinetic energy: Impact on giant planetary jet and vortex formation

Vincent Böning1, Paula Wulff1,2, Wieland Dietrich1, Ulrich R. Christensen1, and Johannes Wicht1
Vincent Böning et al.
  • 1Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, Justus-von-Liebig-Weg 3, 37077 Göttingen, Germany (
  • 2Georg August University, Institute for Geophysics, Friedrich-Hund-Platz 1, 37077 Göttingen, Germany

In this study, we analyse the non-linear transfer of kinetic energy in simulations of convection in a 3D rotating shell. Our aim is to understand the role of upscale transfer of kinetic energy and a potential inverse cascade for the formation of zonal jets and large vortices on the giant planets Jupiter and Saturn. We find that the main driving of the jets is associated with upscale transfer directly from the convection scale to the jets. This transfer of energy is mediated by Reynolds stresses, i.e. statistical correlations of velocity components of the small-scale flow.  Intermediate scales are mostly not involved, therefore strictly speaking the jets are not powered by an inverse energy cascade. To a much smaller degree, energy is transferred upscale from the convective scale to large vortices. However, these vortices also receive energy from the jets, likely due to an instability of the jet flow.  Concerning transport in the forward direction, we find as expected that the 3D convective motions transfer energy to the even smaller dissipation scales in a forward cascade.

How to cite: Böning, V., Wulff, P., Dietrich, W., Christensen, U. R., and Wicht, J.: Upscale and forward transfer of kinetic energy: Impact on giant planetary jet and vortex formation, EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-7557,, 2022.

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