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Keywords:

  • Mars;
  • O2;
  • atmosphere;
  • photochemistry;
  • polar;
  • singlet delta

[1] The Martian polar night distribution of 1.27 μm (0–0) band emission from O2 singlet delta [O2(1Δg)] is determined from an extensive set of Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectral Mapping (CRISM) limb scans observed over a wide range of Mars seasons, high latitudes, local times, and longitudes between 2009 and 2011. This polar nightglow reflects meridional transport and winter polar descent of atomic oxygen produced from CO2 photodissociation. A distinct peak in 1.27 μm nightglow appears prominently over 70–90NS latitudes at 40–60 km altitudes, as retrieved for over 100 vertical profiles of O2(1Δg) 1.27 μm volume emission rates (VER). We also present the first detection of much (×80 ± 20) weaker 1.58 μm (0–1) band emission from Mars O2(1Δg). Co-located polar night CRISM O2(1Δg) and Mars Climate Sounder (MCS) (McCleese et al., 2008) temperature profiles are compared to the same profiles as simulated by the Laboratoire de Météorologie Dynamique (LMD) general circulation/photochemical model (e.g., Lefèvre et al., 2004). Both standard and interactive aerosol LMD simulations (Madeleine et al., 2011a) underproduce CRISM O2(1Δg) total emission rates by 40%, due to inadequate transport of atomic oxygen to the winter polar emission regions. Incorporation of interactive cloud radiative forcing on the global circulation leads to distinct but insufficient improvements in modeled polar O2(1Δg) and temperatures. The observed and modeled anti-correlations between temperatures and 1.27μm band VER reflect the temperature dependence of the rate coefficient for O2(1Δg) formation, as provided in Roble (1995).