DPS 2001 meeting, November 2001
Session 19. Mars Atmosphere Posters
Displayed, 9:00am Tuesday - 3:00pm Saturday, Highlighted, Wednesday, November 28, 2001, 10:30am-12:30pm, French Market Exhibit Hall

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[19.26] Six Seasons of Martian Atmospheric Observations from MGS TES

J.C. Pearl, M.D. Smith (NASA/GSFC), B.J. Conrath (Cornell U.), P.R. Christensen (ASU)

The Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) spacecraft has completed six martian seasons of operations in its circular mapping orbit. Infrared spectra returned from the Thermal Emission Spectrometer (TES) experiment are ideally suited for monitoring the thermal structure, dust and ice aerosols, and water vapor in the martian atmosphere(1). Nadir-viewing observations allow a global picture of these parameters on a daily basis. We present here the latitudinal dependence of six seasons of results. The first year was one of relatively low activity that can serve as a useful baseline for the investigation of interannual variations in atmospheric behavior. Characteristics of this period were: moderate dust storm activity during the perihelion seasons (southern spring and summer), a persistent low latitude band of water ice clouds during the aphelion seasons (northern spring and summer), strong latitudinal thermal gradients at high winter latitudes, and springtime surges in atmospheric water vapor in both hemispheres. This first year was followed by the most outstanding atmospheric event of the mission: the earliest planet-encircling dust storm ever observed (see: "Thermal Emission Spectrometer Observations of Martian Planet-Encircling Dust Storm 2001a," by M.D. Smith, et al., this meeting).

Funding for this research was provided by NASA through the Mars Global Surveyor Project.

(1) "One Martian year of atmospheric observations by the Thermal Emission Spectrometer," M.D. Smith, et al, GRL, 2001 (in press).

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