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Long-term monitoring SO2 above the clouds of Venus using SPICAV-UV in nadir mode

Abstract : Sulphur dioxide (SO2) has been measured at the cloud top level of Venus (≈ 72 km) since the 1980s, and long-term variability has been observed: a decrease in observable column density during the 1980s and up to the early 1990s, when SO2 column density fell below the detection threshold in the UV. Esposito et al. (1988) have interpreted this as an evidence for a recent massive injection of SO2 due to some volcanic activity. Another possible interpretation is that observable SO2 column density is controlled by the convective activity within and above the clouds, the reservoir of SO2 being the lower atmosphere instead of volcanic out-gassing. A renewal of interest regarding SO2 is undergoing thanks to the success of the Venus Express mission operating since 2006 which enables a long-term study of SO2 above the clouds, mainly thanks to the SPICAV-SOIR instrument. UV nadir data have been recently processed by Marcq et al. (2011) and showed that SO2 was detectable once again above the clouds of Venus, with some indication that an enrichment event happened during early 2007. Using the same methodology, we will present measurements of observable SO2 column density during more recent orbits. Such a monitoring for several years with a yet unprecedented spatial and temporal sampling using SPICAV in conjunction with other instrumental data (both Earth and space-based) could help in a better understanding of the process actually responsible for this spatial and temporal variability.
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Contributor : Catherine Cardon <>
Submitted on : Saturday, February 4, 2012 - 3:23:26 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, July 14, 2020 - 11:04:05 AM


  • HAL Id : hal-00666407, version 1


Emmanuel Marcq, Denis Belyaev, Jean-Loup Bertaux, Anna Fedorova, Franck Montmessin. Long-term monitoring SO2 above the clouds of Venus using SPICAV-UV in nadir mode. European Geophysical Union General Assembly 2011, Apr 2011, Vienna, Austria. pp.EGU2011-2603. ⟨hal-00666407⟩



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