JAXA set to solve age-old riddle of temperature variations on Venus

posted on February 9, 2016

JAXA is poised to explain the mystery of why temperatures in the atmosphere above the poles of Venus, in contrast to Earth, are higher than in surrounding areas of the planet.

In findings published by the British scientific journal Nature Communications on Feb. 1, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency researchers said the temperature variations are probably due to large wind currents moving north and south from the equator.

The researchers hope to substantiate their theory when the JAXA probe Akatsuki begins a full-scale study of Venus from April.

"We hope to unveil why the atmospheres of Earth and Venus differ by improving the accuracy of our observations," said Hiroki Ando, a member of the JAXA research team.

The team's computer simulation of atmospheric movement up to a height of 120 kilometers showed that there are large wind currents traveling north and south from the equator at an altitude of more than 80 km.

In the atmosphere above both poles, those currents cause strong descending streams. As the streams go downward, the atmosphere becomes compressed, resulting in a rise in temperature, according to the scientists.

source by asahi
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