Assimilation of atmospheric ozone on Mars

Holmes, J. A.; Lewis, S. R. and Patel, M. R. (2012). Assimilation of atmospheric ozone on Mars. In: Royal Meteorological Society Student Conference, 9-12 Jul, University of Leeds.


The aim of this project is to assimilate, for the first time, ozone measurements into a Mars atmospheric model to develop the representation of trace gas transport, sources and sinks within the model and constrain middle atmosphere wind speeds which are not observed directly. Although data assimilation is now commonplace on Earth, it is a fairly new concept for other planetary systems, with Mars the only other current candidate.
An exisiting Martian Global Circulation Model (MGCM) developed by The Open University, Oxford University and Laboratoire de Météorologie Dynamique, Paris will be used along with an integrated photochemical model to describe the evolution of ozone over the different seasons on Mars.
Ozone, a trace gas on Mars, can be used to constrain atmospheric circulation patterns by monitoring the spatial and temporal distribution of ozone in the atmosphere provided by a combination of satellite observations and the photochemical model in the MGCM. Observations from two satellite instruments, the Mars Climate Sounder (MCS) and Mars Color Imager (MARCI) will be used. MCS has currently provided two Mars years' worth of data on daily, global, pole-to-pole profiles of temperature, dust, H2O vapour and ice (H2O and CO2). MARCI provides near-daily global mapping of surface albedo and ozone column concentration amongst others.
To make optimal use of information, observations and model information are combined by the process of data assimilation. The satellites currently orbiting Mars, combined with the future planned satellite missions, create a great opportunity for the development of data assimilation techniques for extraterrestrial planets. Temperature and dust opacity have already been assimilated for Mars resulting in positive improvements to our understanding of atmospheric dynamics, but as of yet no trace gas species have been assimilated.

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