37th DPS Meeting, 4-9 September 2005
Session 33 Mars' Atmosphere
Poster, Tuesday, September 6, 2005, 6:00-7:15pm, Music Recital Room

[Previous] | [Session 33] | [Next]

[33.21] Diurnal Variation of Martian Dust Opacity

T.Z. Martin, L.K. Tamppari (JPL)

Recent MER Spirit rover observations of dust devils crossing the plains of Gusev crater demonstrate the similarity of that Martian desert to terrestrial sites. Near-surface thermal contrast builds during the day and promotes growth of dust- raising vortices. Evidence for corresponding transient thermal behavior has been shown in MER MiniTES profiles. How prevalent is such dust activity? Is the raised dust sufficient to modify the column dust opacity? The answers have implications for mission operations as well as for atmospheric science.

We have expanded the scope of diurnal dust monitoring by going back to Viking Orbiter IR Thermal Mapper data, for which highly elliptical orbits gave good diurnal coverage (Martin, T., Icarus 45, p. 427, 1981). We examine the Spirit site and equatorial regions of similar surface character.

Dust opacity is inferred from IRTM data by comparing brightness temperature within the 6-8 um range (T7), as continuum, with that in the 8-10 um band (T9), where silicate dust absorption and emission is stronger. During the daytime, when the surface is warmer than overlying dust, the spectral contrast in these two bands allows computation of opacity if a thermal profile is assumed.

This research was funded by the JPL Research and Technology development program and carried out by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology.

[Previous] | [Session 33] | [Next]

Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 37 #3
© 2004. The American Astronomical Soceity.