Martian Atmospheric Aerosols Composition and Distribution Retrievals During the First Martian Year of NOMAD/TGO Solar Occultation Measurements: 2. Extended Results, End of MY 34 and First Half of MY 35

Stolzenbach, Aurélien; López Valverde, Miguel‐Angel; Brines, Adrian; Modak, Ashimananda; Funke, Bernd; González‐Galindo, Francisco; Thomas, Ian; Liuzzi, Giuliano; Villanueva, Gerónimo; Luginin, Mikhail; Aoki, Shohei; Grabowski, Udo; Lopez Moreno, José Juan; Rodriguez‐Gomez, Julio; Wolff, Mike; Ristic, Bojan; Daerden, Frank; Bellucci, Giancarlo; Patel, Manish and Vandaele, Ann‐Carine (2023). Martian Atmospheric Aerosols Composition and Distribution Retrievals During the First Martian Year of NOMAD/TGO Solar Occultation Measurements: 2. Extended Results, End of MY 34 and First Half of MY 35. Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, 128(11), article no. e2023JE007835.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1029/2023je007835

Abstract

This is the second part of Stolzenbach et al. (2023, https://doi.org/10.1029/2022JE007276), named hereafter Paper I, extends the period to the end of MY 34 and the first half of MY 35. This encompasses the end phase of the MY 34 Global Dust Storm (GDS), the MY 34 C‐Storm, the Aphelion Cloud Belt (ACB) season of MY 35, and an unusual early dust event of MY 35 from LS 30° to LS 55°. The end of MY 34 overall aerosol size distribution shows the same parameters for dust and water ice to what was seen during the MY 34 GDS. Interestingly, the layered water ice vertical structure of MY 34 GDS disappears. The MY 34 C‐Storm maintains condition like the MY 34 GDS. A high latitude layer of bigger water ice particles, close to 1 μm, is seen from 50 to 60 km. This layered structure is linked to an enhanced meridional transport characteristic of high intensity dust event which put the MY 34 C‐Storm as particularly intense compared to non‐GDS years C‐Storms as previously suggested by Holmes et al. (2021, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.epsl.2021.117109). Surprisingly, MY 35 began with an unusually large dust event (Kass et al., 2020, https://ui.adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2020AGUFMP039…01K) found in the Northern hemisphere during LS 35° to LS 50°. During this dust event, the altitude of aerosol first detection is roughly equal to 20 km. This is close to the values encountered during the MY 34 GDS, its decay phase and the C‐Storm of the same year. Nonetheless, no vertical layered structure was observed.

Plain Language Summary

Mars has a peculiar tendency, in one in every three Martian year, the entire planet is covered by dust suspended in the atmosphere. These events are referred as Global Dust Storms (GDS). The dust is lifted by fierce winds from the ground up to 80 km high. The mixture of water ice crystals and dust particle in the air of Mars change how the incoming Sun light warms the atmosphere. It is then of a crucial importance to properly characterize the nature and size of the aerosols, especially during a GDS, to better understand the dynamics of the Martian atmosphere. The spacecraft (ESA/Roscosmos) ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter has been studying the Martian atmosphere since April 2018 and observed a GDS but also other and less intense dust storms. These data help us distinguish the aerosols nature (dust and water ice) and sizes during these distinct types of dust events. Our study confirms that, globally, the particles of dust and water ice are quite small, close to 1 μm or even less. Their distribution varies a lot, meaning that one may find a lot of different particle sizes or lot of similar sized particles.

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