Skip to main content


We’d like to understand how you use our websites in order to improve them. Register your interest.

Influences of Venus’ topography on fully developed superrotation and near-surface flow

  • The Erratum to this article has been published in Earth, Planets and Space 2015 63:6300900017


We investigate the influence of topography on Venus’ atmospheric general circulation. Based on comparative simulations with and without the Venusian topography, we elucidate the role of the topography in the fully developed superrotation. Orographically forced stationary waves are predominant over Mt. Maxwell: slightly weakening the superrotation near the cloud top. Differently from previous GCM results, the orographically forced waves do not produce significant asymmetry between the northern and southern hemispheric superrotations in the present model. Weak surface flows from mountains to lowlands are caused by the pressure dependence of the Newtonian cooling. The pattern and magnitude of the near-surface flow are largely different from those simulated in the Herrnstein and Dowling (2007) model. This implies that the parameterizations of physical processes (such as Newtonian cooling, turbulence, diffusion, and surface drag) and the model resolution could significantly influence the pattern and magnitude of the near-surface flow and the orographical forcing of planetary-scale stationary waves.


  1. Del Genio, A. D., W. Zhou, and T. P. Eichler, Equatorial superrotation in a slowly rotating GCM: Implications for Titan and Venus, Icarus, 101, 1–17, 1993.

  2. Dowling, T. E. and coauthors, The EPIC atmospheric model with an isentropic/terrain-following hybrid vertical coordinate, Icarus, 182, 259–273, 2006.

  3. Ford, P. G. and G. H. Pettengill, Venus topography and kilometer-scale slopes, J. Geophys. Res., 97, 13103–13114, 1992.

  4. Gierasch, P. J., Meridional circulation and the maintenance of the Venus atmospheric rotation, J. Atmos. Sci., 32, 1038–1044, 1975.

  5. Herrnstein, A. and T. E. Dowling, Effects of topography on the spinup of a Venus atmospheric model, J. Geophys. Res., 112, E04S08, doi:10.1029/2006JE002804, 2007.

  6. Hollingsworth, J. L. and coauthors, A simple-physics global circulation model for Venus: Sensitivity assessments of atmospheric superrotation, Geophys. Res. Lett., 34, L05202, doi:10.1029/2006GL028567, 2007.

  7. Iga, S. and Y. Matsuda, Shear instability in a shallow water model with implication for the Venus atmosphere, J. Atmos. Sci., 62, 2514–2527, 2005.

  8. Janjic, Z. I., On the pressure gradient force error in s-coordinate spectral models, Mon. Wea. Rev., 117, 2285–2292, 1989.

  9. Lee, C., Modelling of the atmosphere of Venus, Ph.D. thesis, Oxford University, pp. 216, 2006.

  10. Lee, C., S. R. Lewis, and P. L. Read, A numerical model of the atmosphere of Venus, Adv. Space Res., 36, 2142–2145, 2005.

  11. Newman, M. and C. B. Leovy, Maintenance of strong rotational winds in Venus’ middle atmosphere by thermal tides, Science, 257, 647–650, 1992.

  12. Numaguti, A. and coauthors, Study on the climate system and mass transport by a climate model, CGER’s Supercomputer monograph report, 3, pp. 91, 1997.

  13. Rossow, W. B. and G. P. Williams, Large-scale motion in the Venus stratosphere, J. Atmos. Sci., 36, 377–389, 1979.

  14. Yamamoto, M. and M. Takahashi, The fully developed superrotation simulated by a general circulation model of a Venus-like atmosphere, J. Atmos. Sci., 60, 561–574, 2003.

  15. Yamamoto, M. and M. Takahashi, Dynamics of Venus’ superrotation: the eddy momentum transport processes newly found in a GCM, Geophys. Res. Lett., 31, L09701, doi:10.1029/2004GL019518, 2004.

  16. Yamamoto, M. and M. Takahashi, Superrotation maintained by meridional circulation and waves in a Venus-like AGCM, J. Atmos. Sci., 63, 3296–3314, 2006a.

  17. Yamamoto, M. and M. Takahashi, Stationary and slowly propagating waves in a Venus-like AGCM: Roles of topography in Venus’ atmospheric dynamics, Theor. Appl. Mech. Jpn., 55, 201–207, 2006b.

Download references

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Masaru Yamamoto.

Additional information

An erratum to this article is available at

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Yamamoto, M., Takahashi, M. Influences of Venus’ topography on fully developed superrotation and near-surface flow. Earth Planet Sp 61, e45–e48 (2009).

Download citation

Key words

  • Venus
  • topography
  • general circulation
  • superrotation
  • orographically-forced wave