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Global maps of Venus nightside mean infrared thermal emissions obtained by VIRTIS on Venus Express

A. Cardesín Moinelo, G. Piccioni, D. Grassi, R. Politi, F. Nuccilli, P. Drossart

One of the striking features about Venus atmosphere is its temporal variability and dynamics, with a chaotic polar vortex, large-scale atmospheric waves, sheared features and variable winds that depend on local time and possibly orographic features. The aim of this research is to combine data accumulated over several years and obtain a global mean state of the atmosphere focusing in the global structure of the clouds using the cloud opacity and upper cloud temperatures. We have first produced global maps using the integrated radiance through the infrared atmospheric windows centred around 1.74 μm and 2.25 μm, that show the spatial variations of the cloud opacity in the lower clouds around 44–48 km altitude and also provide an indirect estimation of the possible particle size.

We have also produced similar global maps using the brightness temperatures seen in the thermal region at 3.8 μm and 5.0 μm, which provide direct indication of the temperatures at the top of the clouds around 60–70 km altitude.

These maps have been generated using the complete dataset of the Visible and InfraRed Thermal Imaging Spectrometer mapping channel (VIRTIS-M) on board Venus Express, with a wide spatial and long temporal coverage in the period from May 2006 until October 2008.

Our results provide a global view of the cloud opacity, particle size and upper cloud temperatures at both hemispheres, showing the main different dynamical regions of the planet. The profiles obtained also provide the detailed dependencies with latitude, local time and longitude, diagnostic of the global circulation flow and dynamics at various altitude layers, from about 44 up to 70 km over the surface.

Venus; Venus atmosphere; Infrared spectroscopy; Astrophysics - Earth and Planetary Astrophysics

Volume 343, Number 1136
2020 January

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Instituto de Astrofísica e Ciências do Espaço Universidade do Porto Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa
Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia COMPETE 2020 PORTUGAL 2020 União Europeia