Six Years Of Venus Winds: Observations From VIRTIS On Venus Express

By Keith Cowing
Status Report
February 8, 2024
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Six Years Of Venus Winds: Observations From VIRTIS On Venus Express
Sequence of zonal winds from NIR measurements obtained on different dates. Results are based on averages over bins of 10º in latitude x 1 hr in local time. (I, II) From Venus Orbit Insertion to orbit 948 (dates from 12 April 2006 till 23 November 2008; 2515 measurements), (III, IV and V) Orbits 1043-2115 (dates from 26 February 2009 till 03 March 2012; 2071 measurements). — astro-ph.EP

Venus Express provided a long-term monitoring of Venus atmosphere. Several works focused on the dynamics of the upper cloud visible on the day-side in ultraviolet images sensitive to the 65-70 km altitude and in the lower cloud level (50 km height) observable in the night-side of the planet in 1.74 microns.

Here we use VIRTIS-M spectral images to study the upper cloud layer in ultraviolet (360-400 nm), visible (570-680 nm) and near infrared (900-955 nm) extending in time previous analysis of VIRTIS-M data. UV images show relatively well contrasted cloud features at the cloud top. Cloud features in the visible and near infrared images lie a few kilometers below the upper cloud top, have low contrast and are distinct to the features observed in the uv.

Wind measurements were obtained over a six-year period using a semi-automatic cloud correlation algorithm. Results for the upper cloud confirm analysis based on images obtained by the Venus Monitoring Camera (Khatuntsev et al. 2013). At the cloud top the mean zonal and meridional winds vary with local time accelerating towards the local afternoon. The upper branch of the Hadley cell reaches maximum velocities at 45deg latitude and local times of 14-16h.

The mean zonal winds in the uv cloud accelerated in the course of the 2006-2012 period 15 ms-1. The near infrared and visible images show a more constant circulation without time variability or longitudinal variations. The meridional circulation is absent in near infrared and visible images indicating thatthe Hadley-cell circulation in Venus atmosphere is shallow or the returning branch of the meridional circulation extends to levels below levels sensed in near infrared images.

At the cloud tops observed in UV images there are signatures of a long-term acceleration of the zonal winds when comparing winds from 2006-2008 to 2009-2012 with a mean acceleration of 17 ms-1 between both time periods

Six Years Of Venus Winds at the upper Cloud Level from UV, visible and near infrared observations from VIRTIS on Venus Express

Ricardo Hueso, Javier Peralta, Itziar Garate-Lopez, Tatyana V. Bandos, Agustin Sanchez-Lavega

Comments: 38 pages, 16 figures 2 tables, 1 appendix
Subjects: Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP)
Cite as: arXiv:2401.17046 [astro-ph.EP] (or arXiv:2401.17046v1 [astro-ph.EP] for this version)
Journal reference: Planetary and Space Science, 113-114, 78-99 (2015)
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From: Ricardo Hueso
[v1] Tue, 30 Jan 2024 14:28:00 UTC (3,448 KB)

Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA Space Station Payload manager/space biologist, Away Teams, Journalist, Lapsed climber, Synaesthete, Na’Vi-Jedi-Freman-Buddhist-mix, ASL, Devon Island and Everest Base Camp veteran, (he/him) 🖖🏻