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Dynamical characterization of the atmosphere of Venus

This project aims to characterize the atmospheric dynamics of Venus by determining the magnitude of the zonal and meridional winds at the cloud deck and thermosphere, to interpret the measurements based on a general circulation model and to understand the fundamental mechanisms operating in the venusian atmosphere. Firstly, the circulation will be characterized from tracking clouds at the cloud decks, based on Venus Express/VIRTIS imaging data. This will allow to construct the latitudinal profiles of the winds, their variation with time, and to detect wave motions close to 40 and 70 km altitude. Secondly, these measurements will be complemented with ground-based spectroscopic observations, using Doppler velocimetry, from the oxygen 5557 A-line Doppler shift, and from CO2 absorption lines. This innovative, high-precision, ground-based technique will provide independent direct wind measurements at different levels in the mesosphere. The measurements obtained will provide an important constraint for validating a General Circulation Model of the Venus atmosphere. The GCM will be used as a tool for understanding in detail the mechanisms which control the atmospheric superrotation and other prominent dynamical features, such as the polar vortices which can be seen in different windows at infrared wavelengths. Project results will be preserved through a database of Venus atmospheric dynamics, which will be made available to the scientific community. The project brings together researchers from the University of Lisbon, University of Évora, from Portugal, and Paris Observatory and Laboratoire de Meteorologie Dynamique, from France, and contributes to the formation of graduate students in the field of Planetary Science.

1 January 2011
30 June 2013

Funding Institution
Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia

Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia

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