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Atmospheric gravity waves across the cloud deck of Venus

Presentation #502.01 in the session Venus I (Oral Presentation)

Published onOct 23, 2023
Atmospheric gravity waves across the cloud deck of Venus

An atmospheric internal gravity wave is an oscillatory disturbance on an atmospheric layer in which buoyancy acts as the restoring force. As such, they can only exist in a continuously stably stratified atmosphere [Gilli et al. 2020; Peralta et al. 2008]. These waves are of particular interest because they represent an effective means of energy and momentum transport across various atmospheric layers, as these waves can form in one atmospheric region and travel through the atmosphere, sometimes over great distances, and dump their contained energy upon wave dissipation or breaking [Alexander et al. 2010]. Given these properties, the study of atmospheric waves on Venus becomes important as another tool to answer some of the fundamental questions surrounding its atmosphere dynamics, mainly the origin and support mechanism of the remarkable superrotation of the atmosphere.

A newfound interest in these waves on Venus is gaining momentum with our increased ability to detect different types of morphologies thanks to high spatial resolution spacecraft data provided by the European mission Venus Express and the Japanese spacecraft Akatsuki. These allow the detection and characterisation of mesoscale waves at various locations of the cloud layer of Venus. Such efforts can help to distinguish their forcing mechanisms and influence on the underlying circulation as well as with comparative studies of gravity waves on Earth and beyond.

Previous studies of gravity waves on Venus have focused on a particular region of the atmosphere, be it the upper cloud with observations at visible and UV wavelengths or the lower cloud with infrared observations on the nightside hemisphere. Our goal was to evaluate wave structures using three different wavelength regions (280-320 / 365-420 / 600-920 nm) from VIRTIS-M images, as each seems to target slightly different altitudes in the cloud deck [Sanchez-Lavega et al. (2008); Hueso et al. (2015); Jessup et al. (2015)]. Such an analysis can shed light on how wave properties change with altitude in Venus’ atmosphere as well as how effectively are these waves transported across different regions of the atmosphere

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