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Keywords:

  • Mars;
  • atmosphere;
  • aerosol;
  • retrieval;
  • dust;
  • water ice

[1] Near-infrared spectra taken in a limb-viewing geometry by the Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars (CRISM) on board the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter provide a useful tool for probing atmospheric structure. Specifically, the observed radiance as a function of wavelength and height above the limb enables the vertical distribution of both dust and water ice aerosols to be retrieved. More than a dozen sets of CRISM limb observations have been taken so far providing pole-to-pole cross sections, spanning more than a full Martian year. Radiative transfer modeling is used to model the observations taking into account multiple scattering from aerosols and the spherical geometry of the limb observations. Both dust and water ice vertical profiles often show a significant vertical structure for nearly all seasons and latitudes that is not consistent with the well-mixed or Conrath-v assumptions that have often been used in the past for describing aerosol vertical profiles for retrieval and modeling purposes. Significant variations are seen in the retrieved vertical profiles of dust and water ice aerosol as a function of season. Dust typically extends to higher altitudes (~40–50 km) during the perihelion season than during the aphelion season (<20 km), and the Hellas region consistently shows more dust mixed to higher altitudes than other locations. Detached water ice clouds are common, and water ice aerosols are observed to cap the dust layer in all seasons.