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Evidence for SO2 latitudinal variations below the clouds of Venus

Abstract : Sulphur dioxide (SO2) is highly variable above the clouds of Venus, yet no spatial or temporal variability below the clouds had been known until now. Aims. In order to constrain Venus's atmospheric circulation and chemistry (including possible volcanic outgassing), more accurate SO2 measurements below the clouds are therefore needed. We used the high-resolution iSHELL spectrometer located at the NASA IRTF to record thermal night-side spectra, which we fitted using an updated forward radiative transfer model that was previously employed to process SpeX/IRTF and VIRTIS-H/Venus Express spectra. We report, for the first time, an increase in SO2 with increasing latitude (+30% between the minimum near 15°S and > 35°N). This is consistent with the interaction between the Hadley-cell circulation and a postulated vertical profile in SO2 estimated to increase between 30 and 40 km in altitude, as previously suggested by in situ ISAV measurements. This SO2 variability challenges our current understanding of Venus's tropospheric thermochemistry and underlines the high scientific return from high-resolution spectroscopy from, for example, future orbiters.
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Contributor : Catherine Cardon <>
Submitted on : Monday, April 26, 2021 - 1:44:14 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, June 2, 2021 - 4:27:27 PM


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Emmanuel Marcq, Ismaïl Amine, Marc Duquesnoy, B. Bézard. Evidence for SO2 latitudinal variations below the clouds of Venus. Astronomy and Astrophysics - A&A, EDP Sciences, 2021, 648, L8 (4p.). ⟨10.1051/0004-6361/202140837⟩. ⟨insu-03207315v2⟩



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