As terrifying and damaging as the weather here on Earth can be, it doesn’t even begin to compare with some of the weather extremes that exist on other worlds. And while weather systems on Earth are driven primarily by atmospheric heating from its relative closeness to the sun, there are mechanisms at work on the faraway gas giant planets that produce storm systems far more extreme that what we experience here on our home planet.
For example, estimated wind speeds on the gas giants appear to actually get stronger the farther out from the sun the giant planet is – approaching 400 mph on Jupiter, 1100 mph on Saturn, and 1300 mph on Neptune. And, as for the storms that occur out in the solar system’s cold, dark regions, nothing on Earth can even begin to compare with what’s been observed on Jupiter and Saturn!
Now everyone knows about Jupiter’s Great Red Spot – a hurricane-like storm structure large enough to completely swallow several Earth-sized planets that’s been observed by humans for hundreds of years – but the fact is that Jupiter is literally teeming with incredible storms vying for the attentions of Earthy observers:
But the thing is that, while Jupiter may reign supreme in the solar system when it comes to sheer size, Saturn appears to have taken that old Avis Car Rental “We Try Harder” thing to an insane new level when it comes to wicked weather! Just check out the monster storm that actually dwarfed Jupiter’s Great Red Spot at one point:
And if that isn’t crazy enough for you, there’s this totally freaky yet absolutely gorgeous WTF Is That?!? observers everywhere have been drooling over lately:
BTW, polar vortices (also known as Polar cyclones, Arctic cyclones, sub-polar cyclones, and the circumpolar whirl), while not nearly as impressive, exist here on Earth as well, and they have a great influence on the weather we experience all over the planet…
I want ice water.
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