11.16.06

Saturn Storm Is A Hurricane

Posted in General at 5:32 pm by gmachos

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Good afternoon everyone. It has been a while since I last posted to the blog here on Hurricaneville. Much of the reason is because I’ve been writing articles for the web site, but I’ve also been busy with my class at college, and my high school boys basketball web site, GMC Hoops. However, I came across something that I thought would be really good to share with you all.

If you aren’t on the Hurricaneville Mailing List, or didn’t read any of the news on the internet last week, a NASA probe observing the planet Saturn, discovered a massive storm on the planet that is a hurricane. The storm, which is 5,000 miles wide in diameter, or two thirds the size of Earth, and up to 10 kilometers deep, has winds of up to 350 miles per hour. Situated on Saturn’s south pole, the immense storm has its winds rotating clockwise around the center of circulation much like low pressure systems do in the Southern Hemisphere on Earth.

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Comparing it to the big red spot on Jupiter, Saturn’s storm is smaller, but does have an eye and eyewall component according to an article published on the Kansas City Star’s web site. Jupiter’s storm system, which is also more powerful, rotates counterclockwise much like low pressure systems do in the Earth’s Northern Hemisphere. This discovery marked the first time ever that a hurricane like system has been documented on a planet other than Earth.

Some personal observations. Saturn is the second largest planet in the solar system, but it is also one of the farthest planets from the sun, which leads me to think how could this storm be a hurricane. Hurricanes are tropical systems. They are barotropic in nature that feed off of warm ocean temperatures, which can only be created by the heating from the sun. Also, extratropical, or baroclinic systems occasionally do form an eye, especially very powerful storms. Take for instance the Superstorm of ‘93, or the Blizzard of 1978. These bomb cyclones can develop an eye like feature.