Forced waves in the martian atmosphere from MGS TES nadir data

D. Banfield, B. J. Conrath, M. D. Smith, Philip Christensen, R. John Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

98 Scopus citations


We have analyzed the temperature retrievals from Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Thermal Emission Spectrometer (TES) nadir spectra to yield latitude-height resolved maps of various atmospheric forced wave modes as a function of season for a full Mars year. Among the isolated wave modes is the zonal mean, time mean temperature, which we used to derive zonal mean zonal winds and stationary wave quasi-geostrophic indices of refraction, diagnostic of their propagation. The diurnal Kelvin wave was isolated in the data, with results roughly consistent with models (Wilson and Hamilton, 1996, J. Atmos. Sci. 33, 1290-1326). The s = 1 and s = 2 stationary waves were found to have significant amplitude in ducts extending up the winter polar jets, while the s = 3 stationary wave was found to be confined to near the surface. The s = 1 stationary wave was found to have little phase tilt with height during northern winter, but significant westward phase tilt with height in the southern winter. This indicates that the wave carries heat poleward, slightly more than that found in Barnes et al. (1996; J. Geophys. Res. 101, 12,753-12,776). The s = 1 stationary wave is likely the dominant mechanism for eddy meridional heat transport for the southern winter. We noted that the phase of the s = 2 stationary wave is nearly constant with time, but that the s = 1 stationary wave moved 90° of longitude from fall to winter and back in spring in the North. While interannual variability is not yet addressed, overall, these results provide the first comprehensive benchmark for forced waves in Mars's atmosphere against which future atmospheric models of Mars can be compared.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)319-345
Number of pages27
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2003


  • Atmospheres
  • Mars, atmosphere
  • Meteorology
  • Structure
  • Tides, atmospheric

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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