Publication Abstracts

Gierasch et al. 1997

Gierasch, P.J., R.M. Goody, R.E. Young, D. Crisp, C. Edwards, R. Kahn, D. McCleese, D. Rider, A. Del Genio, R. Greeley, A. Hou, C.B. Leovy, and M. Newman, 1997: The general circulation of the Venus atmosphere: An assessment. In Venus II — Geology, Geophysics, Atmosphere, and Solar Wind Environment. J.W. Bucher, D.M. Hunten, and R.J. Phillips, Eds., University of Arizona Press, pp. 459-500.

The overall spin of "superrotation" of the Venus atmosphere is a striking phenomenon. In the 15 years since the NASA Pioneer Venus mission, a first-order understanding has been reached of the dynamics of the atmospheric region near and just above the Venus cloud tops. Tidal motions induced by solar heating produce a traveling disturbance whose vertical momentum transports are balanced by mean flow advection. The balance explains the shear of the mean flow above the clouds, and partially explains the strength of the mean flow at the cloud level where the strongest superrotation of the atmosphere occurs. But the fundamental cause of the global superrotation remains a mystery in spite of data from Earth-based observatories, from Pioneer Venus, from several Russian probes, from a Russian/French balloon experiment, and from the NASA Galileo flyby. The key missing knowledge is of momentum transfer processes in the deep atmosphere, between the surface and the cloud deck. Neither the forcing nor the drag and dissipation mechanisms are known. The existing data are reviewed here, and theoretical suggestions are listed. It is concluded that further measurements, in conjunction with numerical modeling, will be required to resolve this puzzling and challenging question. New data must improve by an order of magnitude on the accuracies achieved by the Pioneer Venus probes. Velocities in the deep atmosphere must be measured to better than 0.1 m/s, and relative temperatures to better than 0.1 K near the surface.

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BibTeX Citation

  author={Gierasch, P. J. and Goody, R. M. and Young, R. E. and Crisp, D. and Edwards, C. and Kahn, R. and McCleese, D. and Rider, D. and Del Genio, A. and Greeley, R. and Hou, A. and Leovy, C. B. and Newman, M.},
  editor={Bucher, J. W. and Hunten, D. M. and Phillips, R. J.},
  title={The general circulation of the Venus atmosphere: An assessment},
  booktitle={Venus II — Geology, Geophysics, Atmosphere, and Solar Wind Environment},
  publisher={University of Arizona Press},

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RIS Citation

ID  - gi01000b
AU  - Gierasch, P. J.
AU  - Goody, R. M.
AU  - Young, R. E.
AU  - Crisp, D.
AU  - Edwards, C.
AU  - Kahn, R.
AU  - McCleese, D.
AU  - Rider, D.
AU  - Del Genio, A.
AU  - Greeley, R.
AU  - Hou, A.
AU  - Leovy, C. B.
AU  - Newman, M.
ED  - Bucher, J. W.
ED  - Hunten, D. M.
ED  - Phillips, R. J.
PY  - 1997
TI  - The general circulation of the Venus atmosphere: An assessment
BT  - Venus II — Geology, Geophysics, Atmosphere, and Solar Wind Environment
SP  - 459
EP  - 500
PB  - University of Arizona Press
CY  - Tucson
ER  -

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