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Grassi Davide, Drossart Pierre, Piccioni Giuseppe, Ignatiev Nikolay I., Zasova Ludmilla, Adriani Alberto, Moriconi Maria Luisa, Irwin Patrick G. J., Negrao Alberto, Migliorini Alessandra

Retrieval of air temperature profiles in the Venusian mesosphere from VIRTIS-M data: Description and validation of algorithms

Journal of Geophysical Research (Planets), 2008, vol. 113

Référence DOI : 10.1029/2008JE003075
Référence ADS : 2008JGRE..113.0B09G

Résumé :

We present here methods developed for the retrieval of air temperature profiles in the Venusian mesosphere from the absolute radiances measured by the Visual and Infrared Thermal Imaging Spectrometer (VIRTIS) on board the Venus Express satellite. The infrared M channel of the instrument acquires multispectral images between 1000 and 5000 nm. In nighttime measurements, radiance in the range 3800-5000 nm is dominated by the thermal emission and absorption by the clouds and carbon dioxide. Since the latter is the main atmospheric component, it is possible to exploit the strong variability of its opacity in this spectral range, as resolved by the instrument, to reconstruct the vertical air temperature profile as a function of pressure. In this context we decided to adopt the Twomey et al. (1977) relaxation scheme. The resulting code was extensively tested on a set of simulated VIRTIS-M data. Comparison of the known input conditions with the results of analysis code allowed us to evaluate the systematic and random errors affecting the retrievals procedures on a statistical basis. The code returns the vertical air temperature profile with an uncertainty of less than 1 K in the region between 70 and 7 mbar (66 and 77 km above the reference surface) and less than 4 K throughout the entire range 100-0.1 mbar (64-95 km). Finally, we present the first examples of the code applied to actual measured Venusian data, demonstrating its capability to achieve a satisfactory modeling of the observations and provide physically reasonable results.

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