Venus' atmospheric waves identified as superrotation

Thursday, 10 July 2014 - 10:44am IST | Place: London | Agency: ANI
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A new research has identified the nature of atmospheric waves of the planet Venus for the first time.

Venus' atmosphere rotates up to sixty times faster than its surface, a phenomenon known as superrotation whose origin has yet to be satisfactorily explained and it rotates slowly since it takes about two hundred and forty three terrestrial days to complete a rotation. Its atmosphere is expected to rotate with the same rhythm as well, but in the case of Venus the atmosphere goes around in only four days.

However, the origin and motor of this superrotation is so far unknown, but the numerous waves present in the planet's atmosphere may play an important role.

Javier Peralta, researcher at the Institute of Astrophysics of Andalusia (IAA-CSIC), said that Venus was a mind bender for specialists in atmospheric dynamics and its winds reaches velocities higher than four hundred kilometers per hour, sixty times faster than the rotation of the planet.

She further explained that some of the waves they have found, such as the acoustic waves or the gravity waves, have properties almost identical to those on Earth, however, other types of waves do not exist on our planet, like the ones they have called centrifugal waves and they were responsible for the two hundred and fifty five day oscillations displayed by the winds of Venus.

The study was able to classify six different types of waves and it has also predicted their characteristic, which provides a new systematic tool to classify waves and henceforth it would be possible to assess their role in transporting, creating and dissipating the atmosphere's energy.

The conclusions of the research might apply to many planets around other stars like Titan, the biggest of Saturn's moons, which, according to available data, might also display superrotation.




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