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Modeling of Observations of the OH Nightglow in the Venusian Mesosphere

Presentation #408.05 in the session “The Upper Atmosphere of Venus”.

Published onOct 03, 2021
Modeling of Observations of the OH Nightglow in the Venusian Mesosphere

Venus airglow emissions have been unambiguously detected in the wavelength ranges of 1.40−1.49 and 2.6−3.14 μm in limb observations by the Visible and Infrared Thermal Imaging Spectrometer (VIRTIS) onboard the Venus Express (VEx) spacecraft and are attributed to the OH(2−0) and OH(1−0) Meinel band transitions. The integrated (limb slant path) emission rates for these bands were measured by Piccioni et al. (2008). Photochemical (Caltech/JPL KINETICS) and global circulation (Venus Thermospheric General Circulation Model — VTGCM) model calculations suggest the observed OH emission is produced primarily via the Bates-Nicolet mechanism, as on the Earth, although Venus’ background atmosphere is different than that of the Earth, but the modeled contribution of the HO2 + O → OH(v) + O2 reaction increases in the lower portion of the OH airglow layer. An overall difference of ~2 km in the peak heights of the OH(1-0) and OH(2-0) layers is seen in both the KINETICS and VTGCM simulations as a result of this change in the relative importance of H + O3 → OH(v) + O2 versus HO2 + O → OH(v) + O2 reactions with altitude. First time 3-D simulations of the OH Δv = 1 nightglow limb slant emission calculate a peak intensity of ~0.6±0.3 MegaRayleighs at ~102 km altitude, an intensity that is consistent with Venus Express VIRTIS observations (Gérard et al. 2010; Soret et al. 2010; 2012) and KINETICS results. Soret et al (2010) reported the intensity of the peak OH airglow increased from 0.30 to 0.40 MR from dusk to dawn but noted the observations used are not uniformly distributed and the observed emission is extremely variable, so a more detailed assessment of the observations was not possible. Our simulations show a decrease in the average OH(1-0) emission is symmetric about the midnight meridian, but the simulations find an asymmetric decrease from the equator to the poles. Consideration of transport and chemical lifetimes suggests modeling of OH above ~ 96 km requires explicit description of transport and vibrational-state-dependent chemistry.

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