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Published February 2012 | public
Journal Article

Sulfur chemistry in the middle atmosphere of Venus


Venus Express measurements of the vertical profiles of SO and SO_2 in the middle atmosphere of Venus provide an opportunity to revisit the sulfur chemistry above the middle cloud tops (∼58 km). A one dimensional photochemistry-diffusion model is used to simulate the behavior of the whole chemical system including oxygen-, hydrogen-, chlorine-, sulfur-, and nitrogen-bearing species. A sulfur source is required to explain the SO_2 inversion layer above 80 km. The evaporation of the aerosols composed of sulfuric acid (model A) or polysulfur (model B) above 90 km could provide the sulfur source. Measurements of SO_3 and SO (α^1Δ → X^3Σ^-) emission at 1.7 μm may be the key to distinguish between the two models.

Additional Information

© 2011 Elsevier Inc. Available online 14 July 2011. We thank E. Marcq for sharing his latest work with us and for helpful discussions, C. Parkinson, S. Bougher and A. Brecht for providing us the recent VTGCM results, A. Ingersoll and D. Yang for insightful comments, R. Zeng for checking the chemical reaction table, M. Gerstell, M. Line and other members of Yung's group at Caltech for reading the manuscript. We are indebted to T. Clancy for pointing out the importance of Sx aerosols as a potential source of SO2 in the mesosphere of Venus. We acknowledge two anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments. This research was supported by NASA grant NNX07AI63G to the California Institute of Technology. M. C. Liang was funded by NSC Grant 98-2111-M-001-014-MY3 to Academia Sinica. F.P. Mills was supported by grants under the Australian Research Council Discovery Projects and Linkage International schemes. D. A. Belyaev acknowledges support from CNES for a post-doc position at LATMOS.

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