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Water vapor on Mars: A refined climatology and constraints on the near‐surface concentration enabled by synergistic retrievals

Abstract : With the utilization of a novel synergistic approach, we constrain the vertical distribution of water vapor on Mars with measurements from nadir-pointing instruments. Water vapor column abundances were retrieved simultaneously with PFS (sensing the thermal infrared range) and SPICAM (sensing the near-infrared range) on Mars Express, yielding distinct yet complementary sensitivity to different parts of the atmospheric column. We show that by exploiting a spectral synergy retrieval approach, we obtain more accurate water vapor column abundances compared to when only one instrument is used, providing a new and highly robust reference climatology from Mars Express. We present a composite global dataset covering all seasons and latitudes, assembled from co-located observations sampled from seven Martian years. The synergy also offers a way to study the vertical partitioning of water, which has remained out of the scope of nadir observations made by single instruments covering a single spectral interval. Special attention is given to the north polar region, with extra focus on the sublimation of the seasonal polar cap during the late spring and summer seasons. Column abundances from the Mars Climate Database were found to be significantly higher than synergistically retrieved values, especially in the summer Northern Hemisphere. Deviations between synergy and model in both magnitude and meridional variation of the vertical confinement were also discovered, suggesting that certain aspects of the transport and dynamics of water vapor are not fully captured by current models.
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https://hal-insu.archives-ouvertes.fr/insu-03666152
Contributor : Catherine Cardon Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Thursday, May 12, 2022 - 11:37:46 AM
Last modification on : Friday, May 13, 2022 - 3:41:27 AM

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Elise Wright Knutsen, Franck Montmessin, Loic Verdier, Gaetan Lacombe, Franck Lefèvre, et al.. Water vapor on Mars: A refined climatology and constraints on the near‐surface concentration enabled by synergistic retrievals. Journal of Geophysical Research. Planets, Wiley-Blackwell, 2022, (in press). ⟨10.1029/2022JE007252⟩. ⟨insu-03666152⟩

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