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Revisiting the Sulfur‐Water Chemical System in the Middle Atmosphere of Venus

Abstract : Sulfur-water chemistry plays an important role in the middle atmosphere of Venus. Ground-based observations have found that simultaneously observed SO2 and H2O at ~64 km vary with time and are temporally anticorrelated. To understand these observations, we explore the sulfur-water chemical system using a one-dimensional chemistry-diffusion model. We find that SO2 and H2O mixing ratios above the clouds are highly dependent on mixing ratios of the two species at the middle cloud top (58 km). The behavior of sulfur-water chemical system can be classified into three regimes, but there is no abrupt transition among these regimes. In particular, there is no bifurcation behavior as previously claimed. We also find that the SO2 self-shielding effect causes H2O above the clouds to respond to the middle cloud top in a nonmonotonic fashion. Through comparison with observations, we find that mixing ratio variations at the middle cloud top can explain the observed variability of SO2 and H2O. The sulfur-water chemistry in the middle atmosphere is responsible for the H2O-SO2 anticorrelation at 64 km. Eddy transport change alone cannot explain the variations of both species. These results imply that variations of species abundance in the middle atmosphere are significantly influenced by the lower atmospheric processes. Continued ground-based measurements of the coevolution of SO2 and H2O above the clouds and new spacecraft missions will be crucial for uncovering the complicated processes underlying the interaction among the lower atmosphere, the clouds, and the middle atmosphere of Venus.
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Submitted on : Friday, June 11, 2021 - 10:26:28 AM
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Wencheng Shao, Xi Zhang, Carver Bierson, Therese Encrenaz. Revisiting the Sulfur‐Water Chemical System in the Middle Atmosphere of Venus. Journal of Geophysical Research. Planets, Wiley-Blackwell, 2020, 125 (8), pp.e06195. ⟨10.1029/2019JE006195⟩. ⟨hal-03250477⟩

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