Skip to main content

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

An Erratum to this article was published on 13 February 2015


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.


  • 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.

    Article  Google Scholar 

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

    Article  Google Scholar 

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

    Article  Google Scholar 

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

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

    Article  Google Scholar 

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

    Article  Google Scholar 

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

    Google Scholar 

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

    Article  Google Scholar 

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

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • 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.

    Google Scholar 

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

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • 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.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • 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.

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

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • 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.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Masaru Yamamoto.

Additional information

An erratum to this article is available at

Rights and permissions

Open Access  This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made.

The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder.

To view a copy of this licence, visit

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

  • Received:

  • Revised:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:

Key words

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