Assimilation of thermal emission spectrometer atmospheric data during the Mars Global Surveyor aerobraking period

Lewis, S. R.; Read, P. L.; Conrath, B. J.; Pearl, J. C. and Smith, M. D. (2007). Assimilation of thermal emission spectrometer atmospheric data during the Mars Global Surveyor aerobraking period. Icarus, 192(2) pp. 327–347.



The Thermal Emission Spectrometer aboard the Mars Global
Surveyor spacecraft has produced an extensive atmospheric data set, beginning during aerobraking and continuing throughout the extended scientific mapping phase. Temperature profiles for the atmosphere below about 40 km, surface temperatures and total dust and water ice opacities, can be retrieved from infrared spectra in nadir viewing mode. This paper describes assimilation of nadir retrievals from the spacecraft aerobraking period, Ls=190-260, northern hemisphere autumn to winter, into a Mars general circulation model. The assimilation scheme is able to combine information from temperature and dust optical depth retrievals, making use of a model forecast containing information from the assimilation of earlier observations, to obtain a global, time-dependent analysis. Given sufficient temperature retrievals, the assimilation procedure indicates errors in the a priori dust distribution assumptions even when lacking dust observations; in this case there are relatively cold regions above the poles compared to a model which assumes a horizontally-uniform dust distribution. One major reason for using assimilation techniques is in order to investigate the transient wave behavior on Mars. Whilst the data from the 2-hour spacecraft mapping orbit phase is much more suitable for assimilation, even the longer (45--24 hour) period aerobraking orbit data contain useful information about the three-dimensional synoptic-scale martian circulation which the assimilation procedure can reconstruct in a consistent way. Assimilations from the period of the Noachis regional dust storm demonstrate that the combined assimilation of temperature and dust retrievals has a beneficial impact on the atmospheric analysis.

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