Mars Global Surveyor Thermal Emission Spectrometer (TES) observations: Atmospheric temperatures during aerobraking and science phasing

Barney J. Conrath, John C. Pearl, Michael D. Smith, William C. Maguire, Philip Christensen, Shymala Dason, Monte S. Kaelberer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

181 Scopus citations


Between September 1997, when the Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft arrived at Mars, and September 1998, when the final aerobraking phase of the mission began, the Thermal Emission Spectrometer has acquired an extensive data set spanning approximately half of a Martian year. Nadir-viewing spectral measurements from this data set within the 15 μm CO2 absorption band are inverted to obtain atmospheric temperature profiles from the surface up to about the 0.1 mbar level. The computational procedure used to retrieve the temperatures is presented. Mean meridional cross sections of thermal structure are calculated for periods of time near Northern Hemisphere fall equinox, winter solstice, and spring equinox as well as for a time interval immediately following the onset of the Noachis Terra dust storm. Gradient thermal wind cross sections are calculated from the thermal structure. Regions of possible wave activity are identified using cross sections of rms temperature deviations from the mean. Results from both near-equinox periods show some hemispheric asymmetry with peak eastward thermal winds in the north about twice the magnitude of those in the south. The results near solstice show an intense circumpolar vortex at high northern latitudes and waves associated with the vortex jet core. Warming of the atmosphere aloft at northern midlatitudes suggests the presence of a strong cross-equatorial Hadley circulation. Although the Noachis dust storm did not become global in scale, strong perturbations to the atmospheric structure are found, including an enhanced temperature maximum aloft at high northern latitudes resulting from intensification of the Hadley circulation. TES results for the various seasonal conditions are compared with published results from Mars general circulation models, and generally, good qualitative agreement is found.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1999JE001095
Pages (from-to)9509-9519
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Planets
Issue numberE4
StatePublished - Apr 25 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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