Observations by Japan's Venus climate orbiter Akatsuki have revealed an equatorial jet in the lower to middle cloud layer of the planet's atmosphere, a finding that could be pivotal to unraveling a phenomenon called superrotation.
Venus rotates westward with a very low angular speed; it takes 243 Earth days to rotate once. The planet's atmosphere rotates in the same direction but at much higher angular speeds, which is called "superrotation."
The planet is covered by thick clouds that extend from an altitude of about 45 kilometers to 70 kilometers. The superrotation reaches its maximum near the top of this cloud, where the rotational speed is about 60 times that of the planet itself. The cause of this phenomenon, however, is shrouded iVen mystery.
Akatsuki was launched in 2010 by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency to unravel the atmospheric mysteries of Venus. Although lower-altitude clouds cannot be seen through with visible light, Akatsuki's near-infrared camera IR2 successfully tracked the clouds - in particular, thicker clouds between 45 kilometers to 60 kilometers in altitude. This was made possible by observing the silhouettes of clouds that appear when infrared light from thermal radiation originating in the lower atmosphere filter through clouds.
Similar observations were previously made by the Venus Express orbiter of the European Space Agency and Galileo spacecraft of the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration, but they provided only limited data of the planet's low-latitude zones. From these observations, scientists speculated that wind speeds at lower-to-middle cloud altitudes are horizontally uniform and have few temporal variations.
In the study published in Nature Geoscience, the team of researchers including Hokkaido University Associate Professor Takeshi Horinouchi analyzed the data collected by Akatsuki between March and August 2016. The team employed a cloud-tracking method they recently developed to deduce horizontal distributions of winds based on data from Akatsuki.
They discovered an equatorial jet in the wind velocities based on image data from July 2016 and that the jet existed at least two months after that. In March that year, the wind velocities in the same latitude zones were rather slow - thus there was no jet.
The findings showed for the first time that wind velocities can be markedly high forming a jet near the equator, which have never been found not only in the scantily observed lower to middle cloud layers but also in the more-extensively studied high layers.
"Our study uncovered that wind velocities in the lower-to-middle cloud layer have temporal and spatial variabilities much greater than previously thought," says Takeshi Horinouchi. "Although it remains unclear why such an equatorial jet appears, the mechanisms that could cause it are limited and related to various theories about superrotation. So, further study of the Akatsuki data should help glean useful knowledge not only about local jets but also would help address superrotation theories."
Naoki Namba | EurekAlert!
When fluid flows almost as fast as light -- with quantum rotation
22.06.2018 | The Henryk Niewodniczanski Institute of Nuclear Physics Polish Academy of Sciences
Thermal Radiation from Tiny Particles
22.06.2018 | Universität Greifswald
In a recent publication in the renowned journal Optica, scientists of Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology (Leibniz IPHT) in Jena showed that they can accurately control the optical properties of liquid-core fiber lasers and therefore their spectral band width by temperature and pressure tuning.
Already last year, the researchers provided experimental proof of a new dynamic of hybrid solitons– temporally and spectrally stationary light waves resulting...
Scientists from the University of Freiburg and the University of Basel identified a master regulator for bone regeneration. Prasad Shastri, Professor of...
Moving into its fourth decade, AchemAsia is setting out for new horizons: The International Expo and Innovation Forum for Sustainable Chemical Production will take place from 21-23 May 2019 in Shanghai, China. With an updated event profile, the eleventh edition focusses on topics that are especially relevant for the Chinese process industry, putting a strong emphasis on sustainability and innovation.
Founded in 1989 as a spin-off of ACHEMA to cater to the needs of China’s then developing industry, AchemAsia has since grown into a platform where the latest...
The BMBF-funded OWICELLS project was successfully completed with a final presentation at the BMW plant in Munich. The presentation demonstrated a Li-Fi communication with a mobile robot, while the robot carried out usual production processes (welding, moving and testing parts) in a 5x5m² production cell. The robust, optical wireless transmission is based on spatial diversity; in other words, data is sent and received simultaneously by several LEDs and several photodiodes. The system can transmit data at more than 100 Mbit/s and five milliseconds latency.
Modern production technologies in the automobile industry must become more flexible in order to fulfil individual customer requirements.
An international team of scientists has discovered a new way to transfer image information through multimodal fibers with almost no distortion - even if the fiber is bent. The results of the study, to which scientist from the Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology Jena (Leibniz IPHT) contributed, were published on 6thJune in the highly-cited journal Physical Review Letters.
Endoscopes allow doctors to see into a patient’s body like through a keyhole. Typically, the images are transmitted via a bundle of several hundreds of optical...
13.06.2018 | Event News
08.06.2018 | Event News
05.06.2018 | Event News
22.06.2018 | Life Sciences
22.06.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
22.06.2018 | Earth Sciences