Saturn's pole: like a hurricane | University of Oxford
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OSB archive

Saturn's pole: like a hurricane

Pete Wilton

The weather of our planetary neighbours is looking remarkably similar to our own: the latest observations of Saturn, undertaken by a team involving Oxford's Leigh Fletcher, show that its southern polar vortex has plenty in common with the hurricanes to be found here on Earth. Both have cyclonic circulation, a warm central 'eye' region surrounded by a ring of high clouds - the eye wall - and convective clouds outside the eye. In turn these polar 'saturnicanes' [!] resemble the polar vortices of Venus - even if these lack cold collars and aren't linked to convective clouds. Maybe all this shouldn't be that surprising as, despite the different local conditions, all planetary weather must be shaped by the same physical laws. So if we ever do make contact with intelligent beings from another world we'll always have something to talk to them about: the weather.