The Penetration of Solar Radiation into Carbon Dioxide Ice

Chinnery, H. E.; Hagermann, A.; Kaufmann, E. and Lewis, S. R. (2018). The Penetration of Solar Radiation into Carbon Dioxide Ice. Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, 123(4) pp. 864–871.



Icy surfaces behave differently to rocky or regolith‐covered surfaces in response to irradiation. A key factor is the ability of visible light to penetrate partially into the subsurface. This results in the Solid‐State Greenhouse Effect (SSGE), as ices can be transparent or translucent to visible and shorter wavelengths, whilst opaque in the infrared. This can lead to significant differences in shallow sub‐surface temperature profiles when compared to rocky surfaces. Of particular significance for modelling the SSGE is the e‐folding scale, otherwise known as the absorption scale length, or penetration depth, of the ice. Whilst there have been measurements for water ice and snow, pure and with mixtures, to date there have been no such measurements published for carbon dioxide ice. After an extensive series of measurements we are able to constrain the e‐folding scale of CO2 ice for the cumulative wavelength range 300 nm to 1100 nm, which is a vital parameter in heat transfer models for the Martian surface, enabling us to better understand surface‐atmosphere interactions at Mars’ polar caps.

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