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Andrew T. Young

Abstract

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Andrew T. Young

Abstract

The physical and chemical properties of the clouds of Venus are reviewed, with special emphasis on data that are related to cloud dynamics. None of the currently popular interpretations of cloud phenomena on Venus is consistent with all the data. Either a considerable fraction of the observational evidence is faulty or has been misinterpreted, or the clouds of Venus are much more complex than the current simplistic models. Several lines of attack are suggested to resolve some of the contradictions. A sound understanding of the clouds appears to be several years in the future.

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Eric D. Galbraith, Eun Young Kwon, Anand Gnanadesikan, Keith B. Rodgers, Stephen M. Griffies, Daniele Bianchi, Jorge L. Sarmiento, John P. Dunne, Jennifer Simeon, Richard D. Slater, Andrew T. Wittenberg, and Isaac M. Held

Abstract

The distribution of radiocarbon (14C) in the ocean and atmosphere has fluctuated on time scales ranging from seasons to millennia. It is thought that these fluctuations partly reflect variability in the climate system, offering a rich potential source of information to help understand mechanisms of past climate change. Here, a long simulation with a new, coupled model is used to explore the mechanisms that redistribute 14C within the earth system on interannual to centennial time scales. The model, the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory Climate Model version 2 (GFDL CM2) with Modular Ocean Model version 4p1(MOM4p1) at coarse-resolution (CM2Mc), is a lower-resolution version of the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory’s CM2M model, uses no flux adjustments, and is run here with a simple prognostic ocean biogeochemistry model including 14C. The atmospheric 14C and radiative boundary conditions are held constant so that the oceanic distribution of 14C is only a function of internal climate variability. The simulation displays previously described relationships between tropical sea surface 14C and the model equivalents of the El Niño–Southern Oscillation and Indonesian Throughflow. Sea surface 14C variability also arises from fluctuations in the circulations of the subarctic Pacific and Southern Ocean, including North Pacific decadal variability and episodic ventilation events in the Weddell Sea that are reminiscent of the Weddell Polynya of 1974–76. Interannual variability in the air–sea balance of 14C is dominated by exchange within the belt of intense “Southern Westerly” winds, rather than at the convective locations where the surface 14C is most variable. Despite significant interannual variability, the simulated impact on air–sea exchange is an order of magnitude smaller than the recorded atmospheric 14C variability of the past millennium. This result partly reflects the importance of variability in the production rate of 14C in determining atmospheric 14C but may also reflect an underestimate of natural climate variability, particularly in the Southern Westerly winds.

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