Temperature, Clouds, and Aerosols in the Terrestrial Bodies of the Solar System

  • F. MontmessinEmail author
  • A. Määttänen
Reference work entry


This chapter is intended to provide a concise overview of the state of knowledge regarding the temperature, clouds, and aerosols of the terrestrial bodies of our Solar System, namely Mars, Venus, and Titan. These bodies are the planetary objects that most resemble the Earth. The atmosphere of each body is described in terms of composition and vertical structure. We distinguish and compare the extent of the various atmospheric compartments that form the atmospheric column, from the troposphere up to the thermosphere. The temperature structure is then presented, and the main causes known for explaining its variations on each body are listed. The specific roles of waves, radiation, as well as convection in shaping temperature profiles are then discussed. In a second part, the particulate components of these atmospheres, clouds and aerosols, are described in terms of their physical properties (composition, optical properties) and of their variability in both space and time. Mars, Venus, and Titan exhibit a remarkable variety of clouds and aerosols. Our knowledge about them has made considerable progress thanks to the success of space missions during the last two decades, while in parallel theoretical models have improved to the point that three-dimensional Global Climate Models now include the detailed physics of clouds and aerosols. As a result, it is now widely recognized that particulates play a key role in forcing the climate and the evolution of these bodies.


Mars Venus Tittan Atmospheres Solar System Composition Radiative transfer Troposphere Stratosphere Mesosphere Thermosphere Radiation Boundary layer Scale height Greenhouse Infrared Surface temperature Cloud layer Clouds Thermodynamic equilibrium Thermal behavior Tropopause Stratopause Mesopause Isothermal Gravity wave Radiative-convective equilibrium Radiative equilibrium Atmospheric waves Diurnal solar forcing Tides Breaking wave Composition Photodissociation Dust Dust storms Diabatic Mesoscale models Cloud Storms Mars Odyssey Mars Express Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Venus Express Cassini 


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.LATMOS/IPSLUVSQ Université Paris-SaclayCNRS, GuyancourtFrance

Section editors and affiliations

  • Agustín Sanchez Lavega
    • 1
  1. 1.Universidad del País VascoBilbaoSpain

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