Space

The amazing properties of hurricanes on other planets

In the early twentieth century, the famous science fiction writerEdgar Burroughs could only dream of space travel. Thanks to his indefatigable craving for space and what is connected with it, the writer created a series of novels on the topic of colonization of the Red Planet. But could the famous creator of Tarzan and John Carter imagine that Mars could be an extremely dangerous place because of the strongest hurricanes raging on its surface? And what if the turbulent fate of Mars is repeated by the exoplanets already found by man?

How are hurricanes formed?

In the modern sense, the concept of “hurricane”implies a wind of destructive force, which usually forms over large tracts of warm water. On Earth, hurricanes occur mainly over tropical oceans, because for its occurrence a powerful wind stream needs energy from the evaporation of water and its condensation, which follows the re-cooling of the air. Deprived of energy recharge, the hurricane subsides rather quickly after going to land, although it often manages to cause certain damage to coastal areas.

The aftermath of Hurricane Michael in the US in 2018

Despite the hurricanes of our planetbeing a well-studied phenomenon, researchers at MIT University made an amazing discovery, proving that powerful hurricanes can occur in much colder and drier conditions than previously thought. So, we can see a similar picture on Mars, where despite the absence of large water bodies, there are storms of a different type - dust.

Can hurricanes form in cold and dry conditions?

To explore how hurricanes canformed under conditions other than terrestrial, the researchers used a computer model that simulates the occurrence of storms using predetermined data. Despite the fact that Earth's winds form over the ocean, to conduct tests, a team of scientists from MIT set up a hurricane prediction system for a much colder and drier environment different from the Earth.

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Surprisingly, a cardinal change in weatherconditions did not stop the formation of hurricanes. The temperatures in the simulations ranged from -33 ° to + 27 ° C, and it was found that even with the coldest indicators of the thermometer, storms are able to form much more often than in terrestrial conditions.

A real surprise for scientists was the discovery“Dead zone” in the middle of the temperature range. So, it turned out that between -23 ° and -3 ° C hurricanes are not able to form at all. What exactly caused this phenomenon is still a mystery.

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In any case, a study by scientists from MIT mayshow that terrestrial exoplanets can turn out to be much more windy places than previously thought. This simple fact makes our planet a truly unique place that violates all standard rules.