Data assimilation for the Martian atmosphere using MGS Thermal Emission Spectrometer observations

Lewis, Stephen R.; Read, Peter L.; Montabone, Luca; Conrath, Barney J.; Pearl, John C. and Smith, Michael D. (2003). Data assimilation for the Martian atmosphere using MGS Thermal Emission Spectrometer observations. In: First International Workshop on Mars atmosphere modelling and observations, 13-15 Jan 2003, Granada, Spain.



From the introduction: Given the quantity of data expected from current and forthcoming spacecraft missions to Mars, it is now possible to use data assimilation as a means of atmospheric analysis for the first time for a planet other than the Earth. Several groups have described plans to develop assimilation schemes for Mars [Banfield et al., 1995; Houben, 1999; Lewis and Read, 1995; Lewis et al., 1996, 1997; Zhang et al., 2001]. Data assimilation is a technique for the analysis of atmospheric observations which combines currently valid information with prior knowledge from previous observations and dynamical and physical constraints, via the use of a numerical model. Despite the number of new missions, observations of the atmosphere of Mars in the near future are still likely to be sparse when compared to those of the Earth, perhaps comprising one orbiter and a few surface stations at best at any one time. Data assimilation is useful as a means to extract the maximum information from such observations, both by a form of interpolation in space and time using model constraints and by the combination of information from different observations, e.g. temperature profiles and surface pressure measurements which may be irregularly distributed. The procedure can produce a dynamically consistent set of meteorological fields and can be used directly to test and to refine an atmospheric model against observations.

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