An investigation of the SO2 content of the venusian mesosphere using SPICAV-UV in nadir mode
Publication date: 15 Jan 2011
Authors: Marcq E., et al.
Copyright: Elsevier Inc.Using the SPICAV-UV spectrometer aboard Venus Express in nadir mode, we were able to derive spectral radiance factors in the middle atmosphere of Venus in the 170-320 nm range at a spectral resolution of R ~ 200 during 2006 and 2007 in the northern hemisphere. By comparison with a radiative transfer model of the upper atmosphere of Venus, we could derive column abundance above the visible cloud top for SO2 using its spectral absorption bands near 280 and 220 nm. SO2 column densities show large temporal and spatial variations on a horizontal scale of a few hundred kilometers. Typical SO2 column densities at low latitudes (up to 50°N) were found between 5 and 50 micron-atm, whereas in the northern polar region SO2 content was usually below 5 micron-atm. The observed latitudinal variations follow closely the cloud top altitude derived by SPICAV-IR and are thought to be of dynamical origin. Also, a sudden increase of SO2 column density in the whole northern hemisphere has been observed in early 2007, possibly related to a convective episode advecting some deep SO2 into the upper atmosphere.