Probability distribution of surface wind speed induced by convective adjustment on Venus

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The influence of convective adjustment on the spatial structure of Venusian surface wind and probability distribution of its wind speed is investigated using an idealized weather research and forecasting model. When the initially uniform wind is much weaker than the convective wind, patches of both prograde and retrograde winds with scales of a few kilometers are formed during active convective adjustment. After the active convective adjustment, because the small-scale convective cells and their related vertical momentum fluxes dissipate quickly, the large-scale (>4 km) prograde and retrograde wind patches remain on the surface and in the longitude–height cross-section. This suggests the coexistence of local prograde and retrograde flows, which may correspond to those observed by Pioneer Venus below 10 km altitude. The probability distributions of surface wind speed V during the convective adjustment have a similar form in different simulations, with a sharp peak around ∼0.1 m s–1 and a bulge developing on the flank of the probability distribution. This flank bulge is associated with the most active convection, which has a probability distribution with a peak at the wind speed 1.5-times greater than the Weibull fitting parameter c during the convective adjustment. The Weibull distribution P(> V) (= exp[−(V/c)k]) with best-estimate coefficients of Lorenz (2016) is reproduced during convective adjustments induced by a potential energy of ∼7 × 107 J m−2, which is calculated from the difference in total potential energy between initially unstable and neutral states. The maximum vertical convective heat flux magnitude is proportional to the potential energy of the convective adjustment in the experiments with the initial unstable-layer thickness altered. The present work suggests that convective adjustment is a promising process for producing the wind structure with occasionally generating surface winds of ∼1 m s–1 and retrograde wind patches.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)314-324
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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