Exploring the atmosphere of Venus using a general circulation model

Event type
Event date
room 32.3.30 CICFANO
Gabriela Gilli -- Institute of Astrophysics and Space Sciences

The satellite Venus Express (2006-2015), together with the Japanese spacecraft Akatsuki (still in orbit) and ground-based campaigns, are unveiling our neighbor planet. At the same time, those new measurements put in evidence the complexity and the high variability of the Venus atmosphere, opening new scientific questions (e.g. how does the interplay of planetary and small-scale waves control the circulation features? which processes occur in the region between the retrograde super-rotating zonal flow and the day-to-night circulation?is the polar vortex a permanent feature of the Venus atmosphere?). Sophisticated theoretical tools such as General Circulation Models (GCM) are essential to explore specific physical processes, to interpret the measurements and to help building a consistent picture of spatial and temporal evolution of Venus atmosphere.

In this talk, I will present some highlights from space observations of Venus atmosphere, and on-going work at the Instituto de Astrofísica e Ciência do Espaço (IA) in Lisbon, using a self-consistent Venus GCM. I will focus on the atmospheric layers above the clouds, a region difficult to sound and particularly challenging to be fully explained by current GCMs.