Thermal Emission Spectrometer results: Mars atmospheric thermal structure and aerosol distribution

Michael D. Smith, John C. Pearl, Barney J. Conrath, Philip Christensen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

214 Scopus citations


Infrared spectra returned by the Thermal Emission Spectrometer (TES) are well suited for retrieval of the thermal structure and the distribution of aerosols in the Martian atmosphere. Combined nadir- and limb-viewing spectra allow global monitoring of the atmosphere up to 0.01 mbar (65 km). We report here on the atmospheric thermal structure and the distribution of aerosols as observed thus far during the mapping phase of the Mars Global Surveyor mission. Zonal and temporal mean cross sections are used to examine the seasonal evolution of atmospheric temperatures and zonal winds during a period extending from northern hemisphere midsummer through vernal equinox (Ls = 104°-360°). Temperature maps at selected pressure levels provide a characterization of planetary-scale waves. Retrieved atmospheric infrared dust opacity maps show the formation and evolution of regional dust storms during southern hemisphere summer. Response of the atmospheric thermal structure to the changing dust loading is observed. Maps of water-ice clouds as viewed in the thermal infrared are presented along with seasonal trends of infrared water-ice opacity. Uses of these observations for diagnostic studies of the dynamics of the atmosphere are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2000JE001321
Pages (from-to)23929-23945
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Planets
Issue numberE10
StatePublished - Oct 25 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Geophysics
  • Oceanography
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Atmospheric Science


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