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A Long-Lived Sharp Disruption on the Lower Clouds of Venus

J. Peralta, T. Navarro, C. W. Vun, A. Sánchez-Lavega, K. McGouldrick, T. Horinouchi, T. Imamura, R. Hueso, J. P. Boyd, G. Schubert, K. Koyama, T. Satoh, N. Iwagami, E. F. Young, P. Machado, Y. J. Lee, S. S. Limaye, M. Nakamura, S. Tellmann, A. Wesley, P. Miles

Planetary‐scale waves are thought to play a role in powering the yet unexplained atmospheric superrotation of Venus. Puzzlingly, while Kelvin, Rossby, and stationary waves manifest at the upper clouds (65–70 km), no planetary‐scale waves or stationary patterns have been reported in the intervening level of the lower clouds (48–55 km), although the latter are probably Lee waves. Using observations by the Akatsuki orbiter and ground‐based telescopes, we show that the lower clouds follow a regular cycle punctuated between 30°N and 40°S by a sharp discontinuity or disruption with potential implications to Venus's general circulation and thermal structure. This disruption exhibits a westward rotation period of ∼4.9 days faster than winds at this level (∼6‐day period), alters clouds' properties and aerosols, and remains coherent during weeks. Past observations reveal its recurrent nature since at least 1983, and numerical simulations show that a nonlinear Kelvin wave reproduces many of its properties.

Astrophysics - Earth and Planetary Astrophysics; Physics - Atmospheric and Oceanic Physics

Geophysical Research Letters
Volume 47, Number 11
2020 June

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Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa Universidade do Porto Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia da Universidade de Coimbra
Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia COMPETE 2020 PORTUGAL 2020 União Europeia