Galileo probe measurements of thermal and solar radiation fluxes in the Jovian atmosphere

L. A. Sromovsky, A. D. Collard, P. M. Fry, G. S. Orton, M. T. Lemmon, M. G. Tomasko, R. S. Freedman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

71 Scopus citations


The Galileo probe net flux radiometer (NFR) measured radiation fluxes in Jupiter's atmosphere from about 0.44 to 14 bars, using five spectral channels to separate solar and thermal components. Onboard calibration results confirm that the NFR responded to radiation approximately as expected. NFR channels also responded to a superimposed thermal perturbation, which can be approximately removed using blind channel measurements and physical constraints. Evidence for the expected NH3 cloud was seen in the spectral character of spin-induced modulations of the direct solar beam signals. These results are consistent with an overlying cloud of small NH3 ice particles (0.5-0.75 μm in radius) of optical depth 1.5-2 at 0.5 μm. Such a cloud would have so little effect on thermal fluxes that NFR thermal channels provide no additional constraints on its properties. However, evidence for heating near 0.45 bar in the NFR thermal channels would seem to require either an additional opacity source beyond this smallparticle cloud, implying a heterogeneous cloud structure to avoid conflicts with solar modulation results, or a change in temperature lapse rate just above the probe measurements. The large thermal flux levels imply water vapor mixing ratios that are only 6% of solar at 10 bars, but possibly increasing with depth, and significantly subsaturated ammonia at pressures less than 3 bars. If deep NH3 mixing ratios at the probe entry site are 3-4 times ground-based inferences, as suggested by probe radio signal attenuation, then only half as much water is needed to match NFR observations. No evidence of a water cloud was seen near the 5-bar level. The 5-μm thermal channel detected the presumed NH4SH cloud base near 1.35 bars. Effects of this cloud were also seen in the solar channel upflux measurements but not in the solar net fluxes, implying that the cloud is a conservative scatterer of sunlight. The minor thermal signature of this cloud is compatible with particle radii near 3 μm, but it cannot rule out smaller particles. Deeper than about 3 bars, solar channels indicate unexpectedly large absorption of sunlight at wavelengths longer than 0.6 μm, which might be due to unaccounted-for absorption by NH3 between 0.65 and 1.5 μm.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)22929-22977
Number of pages49
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Planets
Issue numberE10
StatePublished - 1998
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Oceanography


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