Venusian Cloud Distribution Simulated by a General Circulation Model

Hiroki Ando, Masahiro Takagi, Norihiko Sugimoto, Hideo Sagawa, Yoshihisa Matsuda

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7 Citations (Scopus)


We construct a simple cloud model for a Venus general circulation model (GCM), which includes condensable gases of H2O and H2SO4 vapors, and condensation, evaporation, and sedimentation of sulfuric acid cloud particles. The zonally averaged mass loading of the cloud reproduced in the model takes its maximum and minimum in high and middle latitudes, respectively. This latitudinal distribution is consistent with the infrared measurements. The thick cloud is formed in high latitudes at 43–55 km altitudes by vertical winds associated with disturbances enhanced in the low static stability layer. The moderately thick cloud in low latitudes is attributed mainly to the transport of H2SO4 vapor by the mean meridional circulation. The horizontal cloud distribution in low latitudes has zonal wave numbers 1 and 2 structures, which change in time significantly. These characteristics of the low-latitude cloud would be associated with atmospheric waves in the cloud layer. The mixing ratio of H2O vapor increases with latitude in the cloud layer due to the vertical wind disturbances in the low static stability layer in high latitudes. This latitudinal trend is qualitatively consistent with the infrared measurements. The mixing ratio of H2SO4 vapor increases with latitude in the subcloud layer because a large amount of the cloud is evaporated there due to the sedimentation of cloud particles in the thick lower cloud in the polar region. The present results suggest that the Venus cloud distribution in the lower cloud layer is strongly affected by waves and/or disturbances as well as the mean meridional circulation.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2019JE006208
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Planets
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Jul 1


  • GCM
  • Venus
  • cloud

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science


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