A complete climatology of the aerosol vertical distribution on Mars from MEx/SPICAM UV solar occultations

Abstract : We present the first results on solar occultations performed with the UV channel of SPICAM, on board Mars Express. From the dataset of over 900 occultations (performed between April 2004 and October 2011), about 640 atmospheric profiles of the martian atmosphere were derived. This dataset, spanning four martian years, allows characterization of the seasonal evolution and inter-annual comparisons of ozone and suspended particles. The dataset also includes observations of the Mars Year (MY) 28 global dust storm. In this paper the aforementioned data are analyzed with a focus on the aerosol profiles. We have mapped the seasonal behavior of the near-surface haze, revealing the typical behavior of the martian aerosol cycle, where the season most prone to develop dust storms (southern summer) shows aerosols lofted high in the atmosphere, whereas in the polar regions the aerosols are confined near the surface. More generally, aerosols seem to remain in the lower atmosphere at high latitudes and progressively penetrate to higher altitudes towards the tropics. This prevailing trend is probably related to enhanced atmospheric circulation at tropical regions due to high insolation and/or to higher cloud formation level in a warmer atmosphere. The dataset reveals frequent aerosol layers, found above or within the persistent near-surface haze. We have observed single and multiple layers (up to three layers in one profile) and we have mapped their properties. The highest layer altitudes observed during the global dust storm in the southern hemisphere, where thick layers form high above the abundant lower atmosphere dust haze. We present results on the analyzed Ångström coefficient α and its vertical variations. We also discuss the conversion of α into particle effective radius and present some examples of the effective radius vertical behavior.
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Soumis le : lundi 31 décembre 2012 - 09:36:58
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Anni Määttänen, Constantino Listowski, Franck Montmessin, Luca Maltagliati, Aurélie Reberac, et al.. A complete climatology of the aerosol vertical distribution on Mars from MEx/SPICAM UV solar occultations. Icarus, Elsevier, 2013, 223 (2), pp.892-941. 〈10.1016/j.icarus.2012.12.001〉. 〈hal-00769308〉



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