Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Studies of Venus using a comprehensive general circulation model
Author: Mendonca, Joao M.
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2013
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Full text unavailable from EThOS. Restricted access.
Access from Institution:
The profusion of observational data made available by the Venus Express and previous space missions, increases our need to develop numerical tools to interpret the data and improve our understanding of the Venus meteorology. The main objective of this work is to develop an improved Venus general circulation model and to study the most likely mechanisms driving the atmosphere to the current observed circulation. Our new model is an extension of a simplified version and includes a new radiative transfer scheme and convection and an adapted boundary layer scheme and dynamical core that take into account the dependence of the heat capacity with temperature, at constant atmospheric pressure. The new radiative transfer formulation implemented is more suitable for Venus climate studies than previous works due to its easy adaptability to different atmospheric conditions. This flexibility of the model was very important in this work to explore the uncertainties on the lower atmospheric conditions such as the gas absorption and the possible presence of aerosols near the surface. The new general circulation model obtains, after long periods of integration, a super-rotation phenomenon in the cloud region quantitatively similar to the one observed. However, this phenomenon is sensitive to some radiative parameters such as the amount of the solar radiative energy absorbed by the surface and the amount of clouds. The super-rotation in the model is formed due to the combined influence of the zonal mean circulation, thermal tides and transient waves, and the main mechanisms involved are identified and studied. In this process the momentum transported by the semidiurnal tide excited in the upper clouds has a key contribution. These migrating waves transport prograde momentum mainly from the upper atmosphere to the cloud region. In this work we also explored the model parameters to gain a better understanding of the effect of topography, the diurnal cycle and convective momentum mixing. In general the results showed that: the topography seemed capable of sustaining stronger global super-rotation; without diurnal cycle the strong winds in the cloud region are not produced; the convective momentum mixing experiment did not lead to significant changes. A simple experiment done advecting the UV absorber in the atmosphere, qualitatively showed several atmospheric phenomena that are important for the distribution of clouds. Among them is the presence of a region of low permeability isolating the polar vortex. This last experiment also showed that when increasing the amount of UV absorption in the upper cloud region the winds get stronger. Following the interpretation of observational data using numerical models, we also used a simplified version of the general circulation model to assess the accuracy of zonal wind retrievals from measured temperatures using the cyclostrophic thermal wind equation in the Venus mesosphere. From this analysis we suggest a method which better estimates the lower boundary condition, and improves the consistency of the results at high latitudes when compared with cloud tracking measurements.
Supervisor: Read, Peter L. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Physics ; Atmospheric,Oceanic,and Planetary physics ; Venus ; Atmospheric circulation