On Earth, hurricanes usually move from the equator to the poles. But if you look at a picture of Jupiter, you'd see that the Great Red Spot isn't anywhere near the poles. So the question is: why don't storms on gas giants move to the poles like storms on Earth do?

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    $\begingroup$ Great question! 10 points to Gryffindor! $\endgroup$
    – Dumbledore
    Feb 1, 2016 at 23:39

1 Answer 1


The answer is the Coriolis effect, on Earth this produces cells within which storms move, converging towards the cell boundaries as you can see below.An illustration of the Coriolis effect on Earth.

Jupiter however spins much faster that the Earth which produces a stronger Coriolis effect and thus more cells. This is the reason why there are so many different coloured bands on Jupiter (see image below). So storms like the big red spot don't have as far to move laterally within these cells compared to hurricanes on Earth (in comparison with the planets size).

Image of the planet Jupiter, showing the many different colour bands.

  • $\begingroup$ Reminds me of this my question about why peninsulas (and ocean ridges) on Earth 'kind of look as if' they are parallel to the rotational axis, rather than perpendicular like the belts on Jupiter are. So the rotation gives unrelated orientation of a phenomena for topology on a geologically active surface, than it does for cloud formations in an atmosphere? $\endgroup$
    – LocalFluff
    Feb 1, 2016 at 12:53

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