Journal Highlight: Winds in the middle cloud deck from the near-IR imaging by the Venus monitoring camera onboard Venus Express

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  • Published: Nov 27, 2017
  • Author: spectroscopyNOW
  • Channels: Infrared Spectroscopy
thumbnail image: Journal Highlight: Winds in the middle cloud deck from the near-IR imaging by the Venus monitoring camera onboard Venus Express

The correlation approach has been applied to sequences of the near-IR images at 965 nm taken of the Venus cloud layer from the Venus Express orbiter to track cloud features and determine the wind field in the middle and lower cloud (49–57 km).

Image:NASA.

Winds in the middle cloud deck from the near-IR imaging by the Venus monitoring camera onboard Venus Express

Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, 2017, online
I. V. Khatuntsev, M. V. Patsaeva, D. V. Titov, N. I. Ignatiev, A. V. Turin, A. A. Fedorova and W. J. Markiewicz

Abstract: For more than 8 years the Venus Monitoring Camera (VMC) onboard the Venus Express orbiter performed continuous imaging of the Venus cloud layer in UV, visible and near-IR filters. We applied the correlation approach to sequences of the near-IR images at 965 nm to track cloud features and determine the wind field in the middle and lower cloud (49–57 km). From the VMC images that spanned from December of 2006 through August of 2013 we derived zonal and meridional components of the wind field. In low-to-middle latitudes (5–65°S) the velocity of the retrograde zonal wind was found to be 68–70 m/s. The meridional wind velocity slowly decreases from peak value of +5.8 ± 1.2 m/s at 15°S to 0 at 65–70°S. The mean meridional speed has a positive sign at 5–65°S suggesting equatorward flow. This result, together with the earlier measurements of the poleward flow at the cloud tops, indicates the presence of a closed Hadley cell in the altitude range 55–65 km. Long-term variations of zonal and meridional velocity components were found during 1,200 Earth days of observation. At 20° ± 5°S the zonal wind speed increases from −67.18 ± 1.81 m/s to −77.30 ± 2.49 m/s. The meridional wind gradually increases from +1.30 ± 1.82 m/s to +8.53 ± 2.14 m/s. Following Bertaux et al. (2016) we attribute this long-term trend to the influence from the surface topography on the dynamical process in the atmosphere via the upward propagation of gravity waves that became apparent in the VMC observations due to slow drift of the Venus Express orbit over Aphrodite Terra.

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