DPS Meeting, Madison, October 1998
Session 11P. Mars Atmosphere I, II, III, IV
Contributed Poster Session, Monday, October 12, 1998, 4:10-5:30pm, Hall of Ideas

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[11P.18] Optical Properties and Radiative Heating Effects of Dust Suspended in the Martian Atmosphere

K.J. Snook (Stanford University \& NASA Ames), C. P. McKay (NASA Ames), O. B. Toon (Univ Colorado), B. J. Cantwell (Stanford University)

Methods for iteratively determining the infrared optical constants for dust suspended in the Mars atmosphere are described. High quality spectra for wavenumbers from 200 to 2000 cm-1 were obtained over a wide range of view angles by the Mariner 9 spacecraft, when it observed a global Martian dust storm in 1971-2. In this research, theoretical spectra of the emergent intensity from Martian dust clouds are generated using a 2-stream source-function radiative transfer code. The code computes the radiation field in a plane-parallel, vertically homogeneous, multiply scattering atmosphere. Calculated intensity spectra are compared with the actual spacecraft data to iteratively retrieve the optical properties and opacity of the dust, as well as the surface temperature of Mars at the time and location of each measurement. Many different particle size distributions are investigated to determine the best fit to the data. The particles are assumed spherical and the temperature profile was obtained from the CO2 band shape. Given a reasonable initial guess for the indices of refraction, the searches converge in a well-behaved fashion, producing a fit with error of less than 1.2 K (rms) to the observed brightness spectra. The particle size distribution corresponding to the best fit was a lognormal distribution with a mean particle radius, rm = 0.66 \mum, and variance, \sigma2 = 0.412 (reff= 1.85 \mum, \nueff=.51), in close agreement with the size distribution found to be the best fit in the visible wavelengths in recent studies. The optical properties and the associated single scattering properties are shown to be a significant improvement over those used in existing models by demonstrating the effects of the new properties both on heating rates of the Mars atmosphere and in example spectral retrieval of surface characteristics from emission spectra.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: snook@gal.arc.nasa.gov

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