Planet Venus Amazing Supertropical Cyclone

planet venus amazing supertropical cyclone

The planet Venus is not prepared to sit back and let Earth take the prize for the worst weather in the solar system. A series of photos released yesterday from the European Space Agency’s Venus Express spacecraft proves that the second planet from the Sun is second to none when it comes to a chaotic, unpredictable cyclone swirling around its superheated South Pole.

Oh, don’t get me wrong. Our so-called spring weather stinks out loud, and I’m about ready to fall behind the movement to seek the death penalty for Punxsutawney Phil, the low-down lyin’ excuse for a groundhog who claimed that we here on Earth would enjoy an early spring.

However, the ESA has invited us all to consider the grim alternative. Venus is blessed with a “dense carbon dioxide atmosphere, with surface pressures of 90 times that of Earth, [which] causes a runaway greenhouse effect that raises the surface temperatures up to 450o. That’s only a tad over 840o F.

Then, roughly 30 to 45 miles in the sky, “there is a dense layer of sulfuric acid clouds that completely covers the planet and moves at speeds of 360km/h in a phenomenon named superrotation, where the atmosphere rotates much faster than the surface of the planet.” That’s over 220 miles/hour.

So it’s safe to say that the planet Venus is currently experiencing a fairly stiff breeze.

A German researcher recently released his preliminary investigation of the possibility of tropical cyclones on Titan, a planet-sized moon that orbits the ringed planet Saturn. He thought the winds could get up to over 40 miles/hour, which makes them good enough for a respectable tropical storm.

However, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said that it can’t be a true hurricane unless it’s made of water.

As far as NOAA is concerned, the methane rains of Titan and the sulfuric acid superstorms of Venus are a nice try, but they’re not the real deal.

Maybe not. But have they considered shipping that groundhog off to Venus to look for some warmer weather?

[Venus photo series credit: ESA/VIRTIS/INAF-IASF/Obs. de Paris-LESIA/Universidad del País Vasco (I. Garate-Lopez)]