Having looked for a few days I am pretty sure I do not have an answer on this question:

My intended planet will have the same density but double the mass of earth. I know this will increase the surface area a good amount but not to such an extent that I won't have earth-like terrain and oceans. Assuming everything else is nearly identical to earth, would this planet have the same Hadley, Ferrel, and Polar Cells? i.e. cutting the hemispheres at 30 and 60 degrees.

My intent on knowing this is to then map my continents and use the Köppen–Geiger climate classifications to fill in my expected weather patterns.

From here my only pieces missing is day and year length but given that I am not comparing to human terms I question the need.

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    $\begingroup$ I don't have the confidence in my knowledge to post this as an answer, but I believe that those cells are (in number) determined by planetary spin rate more than anything else. In other words, if you've got an Earth-length day, you'll have the same number of cells. If you have a 10-hour day, you'll probably get more. Incidentally, I posted a step-by-step guide to climate mapping here if you find yourself needing some pointers. $\endgroup$
    – Palarran
    Jun 30, 2018 at 0:23
  • $\begingroup$ Hey guys. I am sorry I disappeared after posting: life got in the way. I was afraid the answer was as simple as that. However: Thank you @Palarran and @Dubukay! Both of your links sent me in helpful directions. Next step trying to map my continents well while trying to ensure I have enough rainforests and the desert I want. :D $\endgroup$
    – Aileron
    Jul 17, 2018 at 1:44

1 Answer 1


We have no idea.

As much as I hate to give up easily, atmospheric dynamics on Earth is not a solved system, let alone other planets. It was only ~30 years ago that we actually solved some of the equations that explain the Ferrel cells. More recently, there’s been some debate about whether changes in climate alone would be enough to create a single, dominant Hadley cell instead of the traditional 3-cell model.

What we do know, however, is that there will be an even number of cells on the planet and an odd number of cells per hemisphere as a simple result of heat flow. That’s why the bands on Jupiter have been theorized to be the result of Hadley circulation within the planet’s atmosphere, but we really aren’t sure.

If you’re curious for a more in-depth analysis, I’d strongly recommend the analyses done over at Harvard: https://www.seas.harvard.edu/climate/eli/research/equable/hadley.html

The second page has a bunch of scary math that justifies the conclusions on the first page, but even then the author isn’t confident enough to give a definitive answer. You’re probably okay with any number of circulation cells as long as it obeys the rules I listed above.


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