Three-dimensional structures of equatorial waves and the resulting super-rotation in the atmosphere of a tidally locked hot Jupiter

Shang Min Tsai, Ian Dobbs-Dixon, Pin Gao Gu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Three-dimensional (3D) equatorial trapped waves excited by stellar isolation and the resulting equatorial super-rotating jet in a vertical stratified atmosphere of a tidally locked hot Jupiter are investigated. Taking the hot Jupiter HD 189733b as a fiducial example, we analytically solve linear equations subject to stationary stellar heating with a uniform zonal-mean flow included. We also extract wave information in the final equilibrium state of the atmosphere from our radiative hydrodynamical simulation for HD 189733b. Our analytic wave solutions are able to qualitatively explain the 3D simulation results. Apart from previous wave studies, investigating the vertical structure of waves allows us to explore new wave features such as the wavefronts tilts related to the Rossby-wave resonance as well as dispersive equatorial waves. We also attempt to apply our linear wave analysis to explain some numerical features associated with the equatorial jet development seen in the general circulation model by Showman and Polvani. During the spin-up phase of the equatorial jet, the acceleration of the jet can be in principle boosted by the Rossby-wave resonance. However, we also find that as the jet speed increases, the Rossby-wave structure shifts eastward, while the Kelvin-wave structure remains approximately stationary, leading to the decline of the acceleration rate. Our analytic model of jet evolution implies that there exists only one stable equilibrium state of the atmosphere, possibly implying that the final state of the atmosphere is independent of initial conditions in the linear regime. Limitations of our linear model and future improvements are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number141
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 1 2014


  • hydrodynamics
  • methods: analytical
  • methods: numerical
  • planets and satellites: atmospheres
  • waves

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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