Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS) infrared observations of atmospheric dust and water ice cloud optical depth

Michael D. Smith, Joshua L. Bandfield, Philip Christensen, Mark I. Richardson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


The Mars Odyssey spacecraft entered into Martian orbit in October 2001 and after successful aerobraking, began mapping in February 2002. Thermal infrared images taken by the Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS) on board the Odyssey spacecraft allow for the quantitative retrieval of atmospheric dust and water ice aerosol optical depth. Data collected so far cover late northern winter, spring, and summer (Ls = 330° - 160°). During this period, THEMIS observed the decay of a regional dust storm, a number of local dust storms along the edge of the retreating north polar cap, and the growth of the low-latitude aphelion water ice cloud belt. Data from THEMIS complements the concurrent Mars Global Surveyor Thermal Emission Spectrometer (TES) data by sampling a later local time (∼1400 LT for TES versus ∼1600-1730 LT for THEMIS) and by observing at much higher spatial resolution. Comparison of water ice optical depth in the aphelion cloud belt from THEMIS and TES shows a significantly higher optical depth in the late afternoon (THEMIS) than in the early afternoon (TES).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-1 - 1-10
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research E: Planets
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 25 2003


  • Cloud
  • Dust
  • Mars
  • Optical depth
  • Water ice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Forestry
  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Soil Science
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Palaeontology


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