A comparison of water vapor line parameters for modeling the Venus deep atmosphere

Jeremy Bailey*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    26 Citations (Scopus)


    The discovery of the near infrared windows into the Venus deep atmosphere has enabled the use of remote sensing techniques to study the composition of the Venus atmosphere below the clouds. In particular, water vapor absorption lines can be observed in a number of the near-infrared windows allowing measurement of the H2O abundance at several different levels in the lower atmosphere. Accurate determination of the abundance requires a good database of spectral line parameters for the H2O absorption lines at the high temperatures (up to ∼700 K) encountered in the Venus deep atmosphere. This paper presents a comparison of a number of H2O line lists that have been, or that could potentially be used, to analyze Venus deep atmosphere water abundances and shows that there are substantial discrepancies between them. For example, the early high-temperature list used by Meadows and Crisp [Meadows, V.S., Crisp, D., 1996. J. Geophys. Res. 101 (E2), 4595-4622] had large systematic errors in line intensities. When these are corrected for using the more recent high-temperature BT2 list of Barber et al. [Barber, R.J., Tennyson, J., Harris, G.J., Tolchenov, R.N., 2006. Mon. Not. R. Astron. Soc. 368, 1087-1094] their value of 45 ± 10 ppm for the water vapor mixing ratio reduces to 27 ± 6 ppm. The HITRAN and GEISA lists used for most other studies of Venus are deficient in "hot" lines that become important in the Venus deep atmosphere and also show evidence of systematic errors in line intensities, particularly for the 8000 to 9500 cm-1 region that includes the 1.18 μm window. Water vapor mixing ratios derived from these lists may also be somewhat overestimated. The BT2 line list is recommended as being the most complete and accurate current representation of the H2O spectrum at Venus temperatures.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)444-453
    Number of pages10
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - Jun 2009


    • Abundances
    • atmosphere
    • atmospheres
    • Spectroscopy
    • Venus


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