A bulk cloud parameterization in a Venus General Circulation Model

Lee, Christopher; Lewis, Stephen R. and Read, Peter L. (2010). A bulk cloud parameterization in a Venus General Circulation Model. Icarus, 206(2) pp. 662–668.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.icarus.2009.09.017


A condensing cloud parameterization is included in a super-rotating Venus General Circulation Model. A parameterization including condensation, evaporation and sedimentation of mono-modal sulfuric acid cloud particles is described. Saturation vapor pressure of sulfuric acid vapor is used to determine cloud formation through instantaneous condensation and destruction through evaporation, while pressure dependent viscosity of a carbon dioxide atmosphere is used to determine sedimentation rates assuming particles fall at their terminal Stokes velocity. Modifications are described to account for the large range of the Reynolds number seen in the Venus atmosphere.

Two GCM experiments initialized with 10ppm–equivalent of sulfuric acid are integrated for 30 Earth years and the results are discussed with reference to 'Y' shaped cloud structures observed on Venus. The GCM is able to produce an analogue of the 'Y' shaped cloud structure through dynamical processes alone, with contributions from the mean westward wind, the equatorial Kelvin wave, and the mid–latitude/ polar Mixed Rossby/Gravity waves. The cloud top height in the GCM decreases from equator to pole and latitudinal gradients of cloud top height are comparable to those observed by Pioneer Venus and Venus Express, and those produced in more complex microphysical models of the sulfur cycle on Venus. Differences between the modeled cloud structures and observations are described and dynamical explanations are suggested for the most prominent differences.

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