Structure of the Venus neutral atmosphere as observed by the Radio Science experiment VeRa on Venus Express
Publication date: 24 April 2009
Authors: Tellmann, S., et al.
Journal: Journal of Geophysical Research
The European Space Agency Venus Express Radio Science experiment (VeRa) obtained 118 radio occultation measurements of the Venusian atmosphere between July 2006 and June 2007. Southern latitudes are uniformly sampled; measurements in the northern hemisphere are concentrated near the pole. Radial profiles of neutral number density derived from the occultations cover the altitude range 40-90 km, which are converted to profiles of temperature (T) and pressure (p) versus height (h). Profiles of static stability are found to be latitude-dependent and nearly adiabatic in the middle cloud region. Below the clouds the stability decreases at high latitudes. At an altitude of 65 km, the VeRa T[p(h)] profiles generally lie between the Venus International Reference Atmosphere (VIRA) and VIRA-2 models; the retrieved temperatures at any given pressure level typically are within 5 K of those derived from the Pioneer Venus Orbiter Radio Occultation experiments. A large equator-to-pole temperature contrast of ~30 K is found at the 1-bar (1000 hPa) level. The VeRa observations reveal a distinct cold collar region in the southern hemisphere, complementing that in the north. At the latitudes of the cold collars, the tropopause altitude increases relative to higher and lower latitudes by ~7 km while the temperature drops roughly 60 K. The observations indicate the existence of a wave number 2 structure poleward of ±75° latitude at altitudes of 62 km.Link to publication