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Tag archives: atmospheric physics

What can superconductivity do for the environment?

Trains levitated by superconducting magnets could be in commercial service in less than 15 years

Trains levitated by superconducting magnets could be in commercial service in less than 15 years (Courtesy: Shigehiro Nishijima et al.)

By Hamish Johnston

When I think of superconductivity, applications that could improve the environment don’t usually come to mind. Perhaps that’s because superconductors only work at very low temperatures and lots of energy is needed to cool them. However, a review article just published in the IOP Publishing journal Superconductor Science and Technology points out some interesting environmental applications.

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Venus’ vicious vortex revealed

By James Dacey

The southern polar vortex of Venus

Courtesy: ESA/VIRTIS/INAF-IASF/Obs. de Paris-LESIA/Universidad del País Vasco (I Garate-Lopez)

The planet Venus may be named after the Roman god of love and beauty, but from what we know about our neighbouring planet, it appears to specialize in a particularly fiery sort of romance. It has a surface dominated by volcanism, and an atmosphere roiled by a runaway greenhouse effect, where sulphuric acid rains down amid a blitzkrieg of lightning strikes. It makes me think that the miserable sort of weather we’ve being experiencing in the UK of late is perhaps not so bad after all.

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