Space Science Reviews

, 214:10 | Cite as

Composition and Chemistry of the Neutral Atmosphere of Venus

  • Emmanuel Marcq
  • Franklin P. Mills
  • Christopher D. Parkinson
  • Ann Carine Vandaele
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Venus III


This paper deals with the composition and chemical processes occurring in the neutral atmosphere of Venus. Since the last synthesis, observers as well as modellers have emphasised the spatial and temporal variability of minor species, going beyond a static and uniform picture that may have prevailed in the past. The outline of this paper acknowledges this situation and follows closely the different dimensions along which variability in composition can be observed: vertical, latitudinal, longitudinal, temporal. The strong differences between the atmosphere below and above the cloud layers also dictate the structure of this paper. Observational constraints, obtained from both Earth and Venus Express, as well as 1D, 2D and 3D models results obtained since 1997 are also extensively referred and commented by the authors. An non-exhaustive list of topics included follows: modelled and observed latitudinal and vertical profiles of CO and OCS below the clouds of Venus; vertical profiles of CO and SO2 above the clouds as observed by solar occultation and modelled; temporal and spatial variability of sulphur oxides above the clouds. As a conclusion, open questions and topics of interest for further studies are discussed.


Venus atmosphere Atmospheric composition Spectroscopy Chemical modeling 



The research program was supported in Belgium by the Belgian Federal Science Policy Office and the European Space Agency (ESA, PRODEX program, contracts C 90268, 90113, and 17645). We also recognize the support from the FP7 EuroVenus project (G.A. 606798), from the “Interuniversity Attraction Poles” program financed by the Belgian government (Planet TOPERS), and from the BRAIN research grant BR/143/A2/SCOOP of the Belgian Federal Science Policy Office.

The authors also wish to thank the International Space Science Institute (ISSI) for their fruitful support, in particular to the members of the ISSI International Team “Sulfur Dioxide variability in the Venus atmosphere” which met during 2013–2015 in the facilities of ISSI in Bern, Switzerland.


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.LATMOS/Université de Versailles Saint-QuentinGuyancourtFrance
  2. 2.Australian National UniversityCanberraAustralia
  3. 3.University of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  4. 4.Belgian Institute for Space AeronomyUccleBelgium

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