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Exploring the Extreme Climates of Giant Planets

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Giant planet atmospheres represent perfect natural laboratories for the exploration of fluid dynamics and chemistry; a paradigm for a class of astrophysical object now known to be commonplace in our galaxy; and a time capsule for the nebula conditions at the epoch of planet formation. This talk will review our present understanding of the gas and ice giant atmospheres, including the hard-to-predict cycles of variability that perturb the climate over multi-year timescales (e.g., upheavals of the belt/zone structure and giant storms). Finally, we will look ahead to exciting new insights in comparative planetology from future missions, including Juno, JWST and ESA ’s Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer (JUICE).

This talk is part of the Institute of Astronomy Colloquia series.

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