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This is diagram of circulation on the Earth (left), and Uranus (right).

Uranus Weather

The weather on earth can be described this way: air rises at the equator, where it is warm, and moves to the poles where it is colder and the air sinks.

Because Uranus lies on its side, with the north pole facing the sun for half a year, Uranus' weather cannot follow that basic pattern. The air would not rise at the equator because the equator never faces the sun. It would seem, instead, that the air would rise at the north pole, where it is warm, and flow to the south pole, where it is colder.

In fact, the weather pattern on Uranus seems to be identical to that of Jupiter and Saturn, namely that the clouds flow in the striped pattern. This would suggest that, for the atmosphere of Uranus, heating the atmosphere from the bottom is more important than warming the atmosphere at the top with sunlight.

Last modified May 7, 2009 by Randy Russell.

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