HDO and SO2 thermal mapping on Venus. IV. Statistical analysis of the SO2 plumes

Abstract : Since January 2012 we have been monitoring the behavior of sulfur dioxide and water on Venus, using the Texas Echelon Cross-Echelle Spectrograph (TEXES) imaging spectrometer at the NASA InfraRed Telescope Facility (IRTF, Mauna Kea Observatory). We present here the observations obtained between January 2016 and September 2018. As in the case of our previous runs, data were recorded around 1345 cm−1 (7.4 μm). The molecules SO2, CO2, and HDO (used as a proxy for H2O) were observed, and the cloudtop of Venus was probed at an altitude of about 64 km. The volume mixing ratio of SO2 was estimated using the SO2/CO2 line depth ratios of weak transitions; the H2O volume mixing ratio was derived from the HDO/CO2 line depth ratio, assuming a D/H ratio of 200 times the Vienna Standard Mean Ocean Water (VSMOW). As reported in our previous analyses, the SO2 mixing ratio shows strong variations with time and also over the disk, showing evidence of the formation of SO2 plumes with a lifetime of a few hours; in contrast, the H2O abundance is remarkably uniform over the disk and shows moderate variations as a function of time. We performed a statistical analysis of the behavior of the SO2 plumes, using all TEXES data between 2012 and 2018. They appear mostly located around the equator. Their distribution as a function of local time seems to show a depletion around noon; we do not have enough data to confirm this feature definitely. The distribution of SO2 plumes as a function of longitude shows no clear feature, apart from a possible depletion around 100E–150E and around 300E–360E. There seems to be a tendency for the H2O volume mixing ratio to decrease after 2016, and for the SO2 mixing ratio to increase after 2014. However, we see no clear anti-correlation between the SO2 and H2O abundances at the cloudtop, neither on the individual maps nor over the long term. Finally, there is a good agreement between the TEXES results and those obtained in the UV range (SPICAV/Venus Express and UVI/Akatsuki) at a slightly higher altitude. This agreement shows that SO2 observations obtained in the thermal infrared can be used to extend the local time coverage of the SO2 measurements obtained in the UV range.
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Thérèse Encrenaz, T. K. Greathouse, Emmanuel Marcq, H. Sagawa, Thomas Widemann, et al.. HDO and SO2 thermal mapping on Venus. IV. Statistical analysis of the SO2 plumes. Astronomy and Astrophysics - A&A, EDP Sciences, 2019, 623, pp.A70. ⟨10.1051/0004-6361/201833511⟩. ⟨insu-02067779⟩

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