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Journal Articles Icarus Year : 2023

Solar cycle and seasonal variability of H in the upper atmosphere of Mars

Abstract

The complex seasonal, dust, and atmospheric circulation patterns at Mars affect the abundance and spatial extent of water and its photo-dissociated atomic byproduct H. Recent observations by the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) mission have been used to constrain the H abundance at the exobase (200 km altitude) as well as its thermal and global escape rate. The MAVEN observations span the last seven years and encompass the effects of the declining phase of Solar Cycle 24 and activating phase of Solar Cycle 25 from mid-perihelion of Mars Year (MY) 32 through most of aphelion of MY36. Results show that there are seasonal as well as solar cycle variations in H exobase temperatures, densities, thermal escape rates, and global escape rates. During perihelion of MYs 32–35, the H exobase density fluctuates with a cadence that corresponds to the approach to perihelion as well as the onset and peak of regional dust storms. Additionally, the abundance of H atoms did not show exceptional variability during the MY34 Global Dust Storm, when compared with trends from adjacent years. Seasonal averages of H exobase densities, thermal escape rates, and global escape rates indicated an order of magnitude difference between perihelion and aphelion, and suggest a water global equivalent layer range of 0.02–13 m lost over 4 billon years. H properties are also found to vary with solar cycle to a lesser extent than with seasons across the MAVEN timeline. Trends show that the exobase density varies inversely with solar activity, while both the thermal and global escape rates vary directly with solar activity. It remains to be seen if the effects of a stronger than recent solar cycle on the upper atmospheric H properties would become more pronounced.
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Dates and versions

insu-03792361 , version 1 (26-10-2022)
insu-03792361 , version 2 (19-02-2023)

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Attribution - NonCommercial - NoDerivatives

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Majd Mayyasi, John T. Clarke, Jean-Yves Chaufray, D. Kass, S. Bougher, et al.. Solar cycle and seasonal variability of H in the upper atmosphere of Mars. Icarus, 2023, 393 (March), pp.115293. ⟨10.1016/j.icarus.2022.115293⟩. ⟨insu-03792361v2⟩
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