Calculations of the Radiative and Dynamical State of the Venus Atmosphere

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  • 1 NASA-Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif. 94035
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Abstract

Modelling the atmosphere in accord with recent spacecraft and ground-based observations, we have carried out accurate, multiple scattering calculations to determine the solar energy deposition profile in the atmosphere of Venus. We find that most of the absorbed energy is deposited in the main cloud layer region, located at altitudes above 35 km, and that the ground receives approximately 3% of the energy absorbed in toto by Venus. Using these results we have computed vertical temperature profiles under conditions of pure radiative equilibrium and radiative-convective equilibrium. Since the latter results satisfactorily match the temperature structure determined from various spacecraft observations, we infer that the greenhouse effect can account for the high surface temperature. Aerosols make an important contribution to the infrared opacity in these calculations. Finally, we discuss preliminary three-dimensional calculations of the general circulation of the atmosphere that incorporate the results of the radiative calculations.

Abstract

Modelling the atmosphere in accord with recent spacecraft and ground-based observations, we have carried out accurate, multiple scattering calculations to determine the solar energy deposition profile in the atmosphere of Venus. We find that most of the absorbed energy is deposited in the main cloud layer region, located at altitudes above 35 km, and that the ground receives approximately 3% of the energy absorbed in toto by Venus. Using these results we have computed vertical temperature profiles under conditions of pure radiative equilibrium and radiative-convective equilibrium. Since the latter results satisfactorily match the temperature structure determined from various spacecraft observations, we infer that the greenhouse effect can account for the high surface temperature. Aerosols make an important contribution to the infrared opacity in these calculations. Finally, we discuss preliminary three-dimensional calculations of the general circulation of the atmosphere that incorporate the results of the radiative calculations.

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