Research

Neptune’s Seasonal Changes

Ice giant Neptune, as seen by Voyager 2.

Ice giant Neptune orbits our sun once every 165 years, meaning that each season on the planet lasts about 41 years here on Earth. Currently, the side of Neptune facing us is entering early summer, but a recent survey of atmospheric measurements show that Neptune’s stratosphere is experiencing some unexpected changes. Between 2003 and 2018, the team found that global stratospheric temperatures actually decreased by 8 degrees Celsius. Even more dramatically, Neptune’s southern pole warmed by a full 11 degrees Celsius between 2018 and 2020. Both results hint that atmospheric patterns on the planet may be far more complex than current models assume. (Image credit: NASA/JPL; research credit: M. Roman et al.; via Physics World)

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