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The Vertical Dust Profile over Gale Crater, Mars
NASA Goddard Spaceflight Center, Greenbelt, MD.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-1149-7385
Aeolis Research, Pasadena, CA.
NASA Goddard Spaceflight Center, Greenbelt, MD.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-7601-1158
Department of Earth and Space Science and Engineering, York University, Toronto, ON, Canada.
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2017 (English)In: Journal of Geophysical Research - Planets, ISSN 2169-9097, E-ISSN 2169-9100Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

We create a vertically coarse, but complete, vertical profile of dust mixing ratio from the surface to the upper atmosphere over Gale Crater, Mars, using the frequent joint atmospheric observations of the orbiting Mars Climate Sounder (MCS) and the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Curiosity rover. Using these data and an estimate of planetary boundary layer (PBL) depth from the MarsWRF general circulation model, we divide the vertical column into three regions. The first region is the Gale Crater PBL, the second is the MCS-sampled region, and the third is between these first two. We solve for a well-mixed dust mixing ratio within this third (middle) layer of atmosphere to complete the profile.

We identify a unique seasonal cycle of dust within each atmospheric layer. Within the Gale PBL, dust mixing ratio maximizes near southern hemisphere summer solstice (Ls = 270°) and minimizes near winter solstice (Ls = 90-100°) with a smooth sinusoidal transition between them. However, the layer above Gale Crater and below the MCS-sampled region more closely follows the global opacity cycle and has a maximum in opacity near Ls = 240° and exhibits a local minimum (associated with the “solsticial pause” in dust storm activity) near Ls = 270°. With knowledge of the complete vertical dust profile, we can also assess the frequency of high-altitude dust layers over Gale. We determine that 36% of MCS profiles near Gale Crater contain an “absolute” high-altitude dust layer wherein the dust mixing ratio is the maximum in the entire vertical column.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
American Geophysical Union (AGU), 2017.
Keyword [en]
Mars, atmosphere, dust, Curiosity, MSL, Gale Crater
National Category
Aerospace Engineering
Research subject
Atmospheric science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-66858DOI: 10.1002/2017JE005420OAI: oai:DiVA.org:ltu-66858DiVA: diva2:1161682
Available from: 2017-11-30 Created: 2017-11-30 Last updated: 2017-11-30

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Guzewich, Scott D.Smith, M. D.Martín-Torres, JavierZorzano Mier, Maria-Paz
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