October 14, 2014

Results of measurements with the Planetary Fourier Spectrometer onboard Mars Express: Clouds and dust at the end of southern summer. A comparison with OMEGA images

Zasova L.V., Formisano V., Moroz V.I., Bibring J.-P., Grassi D., Ignatiev N.I., Giuranna M., Bellucci G., Altieri F., Blecka M., Gnedykh V.N., Grigoriev A.V., Lellouch E., Mattana A., Maturilli A., Moshkin B.E., Nikolsky Yu.V., Patsaev D.V., Piccioni G., Ratai M., Saggin B., Fonti S., Khatuntsev I.V., Hirsh H., Ekonomov A.P.
Cosmic Research

Summary: We discuss the results of measurements made with the Planetary Fourier Spectrometer (PFS) onboard the Mars Express spacecraft. The data were obtained in the beginning of the mission and correspond to the end of summer in the southern hemisphere of Mars (L s ~ 340°). Three orbits are considered, two of which passed through volcanoes Olympus and Ascraeus Mons (the height above the surface is about +20 km), while the third orbit intersects lowland Hellas (-7 km). The influence of the relief on the properties of the aerosol observed is demonstrated: clouds of water ice with a visual optical thickness of 0.1-0.5 were observed above volcanoes, while only dust was found during the observations (close in time) along the orbit passing through Hellas in low and middle latitudes. This dust is homogeneously mixed with gas and has a reduced optical thickness of 0.25±0.05 (at v = 1100 cm-1). In addition to orographic clouds, ice clouds were observed in this season in the northern polar region. The clouds seen in the images obtained simultaneously by the mapping spectrometer OMEGA confirm the PFS results. Temperature inversion is discovered in the north polar hood below the level 1 mbar with a temperature maximum at about 0.6 mbar. This inversion is associated with descending movements in the Hadley cell. © Pleiades Publishing, Inc., 2006.