37th DPS Meeting, 4-9 September 2005
Session 27 Mars IV
Oral, Tuesday, September 6, 2005, 4:20-6:00pm, Music Concert Hall

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[27.08] New VLA Observations of Mars Atmospheric Water Vapor

B.J. Butler, J.G. Johnston (NRAO), R.T. Clancy (SSI), M.A. Gurwell (CfA)

The presence of water vapor in the atmosphere of Mars is becoming increasingly recognized as a key element of that planet's climate. Previous studies have characterized latitudinal and seasonal variations in the quantity and transport of water vapor, but detailed information regarding its distribution as a function of altitude, and how that changes with season, is still lacking. One method of determining the vertical distribution is via spectroscopic observations of the 1.35-cm rotational transition (Clancy et al. 1992, Icarus, 100, 48; Clancy et al. 1996, Icarus, 122, 36). Shortly after the 2003 opposition, such observations were conducted with the Very Large Array (VLA). The observations were taken on four dates, in two high resolution configurations of the VLA. These observations provide a good combination of sensitivity and spatial resolution for mapping the martian atmospheric water vapor. The shape of the line can be used to infer a vertical profile, and spatial variations around the limb give information on the latitudinal and local time distributions of water vapor. The season on Mars during these observations (Ls=265-285, around southern summer solstice) is of particular interest, as the water vapor supplied to the atmosphere from the south polar cap at that time appears to vary significantly from year to year. These observations can be compared to a number of contemporaneous observations from other instruments, including the Mars Global Surveyor Thermal Emission Spectrometer (MGS TES), the Submillimeter Wave Astronomy Satellite (SWAS) and the Submillimeter Array (SMA). Results from the preliminary analysis of these new data will be presented and implications discussed.

If you would like more information about this abstract, please follow the link to http://www.aoc.nrao.edu/~bbutler/work/mars/DPS05.html. This link was provided by the author. When you follow it, you will leave the Web site for this meeting; to return, you should use the Back comand on your browser.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: bbutler@nrao.edu

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