The Long-Term Evolution of the Atmosphere of Venus: Processes and Feedback Mechanisms: Interior-Exterior Exchanges

Cedric Gillmann, M. J. Way, Guillaume Avice, Doris Breuer, Gregor J. Golabek, Dennis Höning, Joshua Krissansen-Totton, Helmut Lammer, Joseph G. O’Rourke, Moa Persson, Ana Catalina Plesa, Arnaud Salvador, Manuel Scherf, Mikhail Y. Zolotov

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


This work reviews the long-term evolution of the atmosphere of Venus, and modulation of its composition by interior/exterior cycling. The formation and evolution of Venus’s atmosphere, leading to contemporary surface conditions, remain hotly debated topics, and involve questions that tie into many disciplines. We explore these various inter-related mechanisms which shaped the evolution of the atmosphere, starting with the volatile sources and sinks. Going from the deep interior to the top of the atmosphere, we describe volcanic outgassing, surface-atmosphere interactions, and atmosphere escape. Furthermore, we address more complex aspects of the history of Venus, including the role of Late Accretion impacts, how magnetic field generation is tied into long-term evolution, and the implications of geochemical and geodynamical feedback cycles for atmospheric evolution. We highlight plausible end-member evolutionary pathways that Venus could have followed, from accretion to its present-day state, based on modeling and observations. In a first scenario, the planet was desiccated by atmospheric escape during the magma ocean phase. In a second scenario, Venus could have harbored surface liquid water for long periods of time, until its temperate climate was destabilized and it entered a runaway greenhouse phase. In a third scenario, Venus’s inefficient outgassing could have kept water inside the planet, where hydrogen was trapped in the core and the mantle was oxidized. We discuss existing evidence and future observations/missions required to refine our understanding of the planet’s history and of the complex feedback cycles between the interior, surface, and atmosphere that have been operating in the past, present or future of Venus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number56
JournalSpace Science Reviews
Issue number7
StatePublished - Oct 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Atmosphere
  • Coupled evolution
  • Feedback cycles
  • Venus
  • Volatile exchanges

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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