Peter J. Gierasch

Professor Emeritus

Research Focus

Peter Gierasch's research is on the dynamics and thermal structure of planetary atmospheres. The general objective is to advance understanding in atmospheric science by studying the range of behaviors exhibited on the different planets. Topics of particular interest to him are the zonal jets of Jupiter and Saturn, the cloud structure and energy balance of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune, the general circulation and strong super rotation of the atmosphere of Venus, and Martian atmospheric dust and its influence on climate. This work depends on data from spacecraft. Gierasch has been involved in the NASA Viking orbiter-lander mission to Mars, the Pioneer Venus mission, and the Voyager flybys of the outer planets. He was an interdisciplinary scientist on the Galileo orbiter-probe mission to Jupiter and is a member of the infrared spectroscopy experiment on the Cassini Saturn orbiter and Titan probe mission. Gierasch participates in planning of observations, in data analysis, and in interpretation, including modeling. During the next few years his research will focus on data analysis from the Galileo and Cassini missions, and onthe theorectical work concerning the thermodynamics and stability of flows on the outer planets.


-Gierasch, Peter. "Radiative-Convective Latitudinal Gradients for Jupiter and Saturn Models with a Radiative Zone."Icarus 142, 148-154 (1999).;

-Gierasch, P. J., A.P. Ingersoll, D. Banfield, S. P. Ewald, P. Helfenstein, A. Simon-Miller, A. Vasvada, H. H. Breneman, D. A. Senske, and the Galileo Imaging Team. "Observation of moist convection in Jupiter's atmosphere." Nature 403, 628-630 (2000).

-Stam, Daphne M., Don Banfield, Peter J. Gierasch, and Philip D. Nicholson. "Near-IR Spectrophotometry of Saturnian Aerosols--Meridional and Vertical Distribution."Icarus 152, 407-422 (2001).

-Simon-Miller, Amy A., Don Banfield, , and Peter J. Gierasch. "Color and the Vertical Structure in Jupiter's Belts, Zones, and Weather Systems."Icarus 154, 459-474 (2001).

-Simon-Miller, Amy A., Peter J. Gierasch, Reta F. Beebe, Barney Conrath, F. Michael Flasar, Richard K. Achterberg, and the Cassini CIRS Team. "New Observational Results Concerning Jupiter's Great Red Spot." Icarus 158, 249-266 (2002).

-Gierasch, P.J., B.J. Conrath and P.L. Read. "Nonconservation of Ertel potential vorticity in hydrogen atmospheres." J. Atmos. Sci., 61, 1953-1965 (2004).

-Flasar, F.M, P. Gierasch and 34 others. "Titan's atmospheric temperatures, winds, and composition." Science, 308, 975-978 (2005).

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