Precipitation on Venus: Properties and Possibilities of Detection

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  • 1 Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena 91103
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Abstract

Mariner 10 occultation measurements have provided evidence of a dense cloud deck in the lower atmosphere of Venus with a peak liquid content of about 1 g m−3. This, in conjunction with other measurements-such as turbulence, updrafts and the presence of aerosol—seem to favor the possibility of precipitation on Venus. Modeling of droplet growth in the Venusian environment shows that precipitation size drops can be formed over periods of only a few hours, similar to growth rates on Earth. The precipitation region, if it exists, would extend from the cloud base at about 50 km to the 38 km level where most of the droplets will have evaporated. Precipitation regions can be detected with a variety of remote sensing radar and radio techniques.

Abstract

Mariner 10 occultation measurements have provided evidence of a dense cloud deck in the lower atmosphere of Venus with a peak liquid content of about 1 g m−3. This, in conjunction with other measurements-such as turbulence, updrafts and the presence of aerosol—seem to favor the possibility of precipitation on Venus. Modeling of droplet growth in the Venusian environment shows that precipitation size drops can be formed over periods of only a few hours, similar to growth rates on Earth. The precipitation region, if it exists, would extend from the cloud base at about 50 km to the 38 km level where most of the droplets will have evaporated. Precipitation regions can be detected with a variety of remote sensing radar and radio techniques.

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