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This is a drawing depicting the motions in earth's atmosphere.
Image from: Random House Atlas, NOAA

Motions in Earth's Atmosphere

Motions in the atmosphere of a planet help carry heat from the surface back to space.

The drawing to the left shows a kind of motion that is found in the atmosphere as well as inside a planet.

In the top drawing, there are three red sheets of activity in the atmosphere where the air turns over. The bottom is an image of the Earth showing the weak striped pattern of clouds which happens in response to the motion in the atmosphere shown by the red sheets. There is one stripe of clouds in the middle, at the equator, and two other stripes of clouds halfway to the north and south poles.

On Jupiter, this pattern is multiplied a thousand times by the forces of Jupiter's gravity and tremendous spin. Jupiter spins once in 10 hours. For a planet the size of Jupiter, this spin creates a powerful force.

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Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA