Doppler winds mapped around the lower thermospheric terminator of Venus: 2012 solar transit observations from the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope

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DOIResolve DOI: http://doi.org/10.1016/j.icarus.2015.03.031
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TypeArticle
Journal titleIcarus
ISSN0019-1035
Volume254
Pages233258; # of pages: 26
AbstractDoppler shifts of sub-millimeter (330. GHz) and millimeter (230. GHz) line absorptions were mapped around the circum-disk terminator of Venus before, during, and after the June 5, 2012 solar transit, employing the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope (JCMT). Radiative transfer analysis of the solar transit thermal line absorptions yields cross-terminator winds in the Venus lower thermosphere (100-120. km) over the local time (LT) and latitude extent of the atmospheric limb presented by the inferior conjunction, nightside apparent disk of Venus. The unique solar transit geometry provides enhanced spatial resolution of the terminator (0.2. h in local time, LT) associated with solar illumination of this atmospheric limb region, and so provides the first characterization of the instantaneous distribution of cross terminator flow in the Venus lower thermosphere versus LT and latitude. Furthermore, by mapping Doppler winds over the nightside disk preceding and following the solar transit, we place the highly variable zonal and subsolar-to-antisolar (SSAS) circulation components of the nightside lower thermosphere (Clancy, R.T., Sandor, B.J., Moriarty-Schieven, G.H. [2012a]. Icarus 217, 794-812) in the context of the day-to-night cross terminator flow that drives this chaotic nightside dynamical regime. The solar transit observations indicate substantially supersonic (200-300. m/s) day-to-night cross terminator winds that are significantly (by 50-150. m/s) stronger over the evening versus the morning terminator. They also exhibit surprisingly large (50%) variations over a 1-2. h timescale that challenge explanation. These behaviors likely contribute to both the variability and the apparent retrograde zonal component of circulation in the Venus nightside upper atmosphere. Hence, these observations support dynamical arguments for preferential deceleration of the morning sector SSAS circulation (e.g., Alexander, M.J. [1992]. Geophys. Res. Lett. 19, 2207-2210), as recently simulated in the Venus thermospheric general circulation model of Hoshino et al. (Hoshinom, N. et al. [2013]. J. Geophys. Res. 118, 2004-2015).
Publication date
PublisherElsevier
LanguageEnglish
AffiliationNational Research Council Canada
Peer reviewedYes
NPARC number21275653
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Record identifiere44a2a91-fab7-46dc-bfc5-43572a19bfc5
Record created2015-07-14
Record modified2016-05-09
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