The Horizontal Wavelength Spectrum of Gravity Wave Activity in Mars’s Lower Atmosphere: The Perspective from MGS–TES Nadir Observations

Nicholas G. Heavens, Alexey Pankine, J. Michael Battalio, Corwin Wright

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Connecting upper-atmospheric gravity waves (GW) to their lower- and middle-atmospheric (0–30 and 30–100 km altitude) origins can improve understanding of the evolution of Mars’s atmosphere as well as its present thermal structure and general circulation. A recent study using observations from the Mars Climate Sounder (MCS) on board the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) characterized the climatology of lower-atmospheric GW with 10–100 km horizontal wavelengths, but GW observed in the upper atmosphere have horizontal wavelengths of up to 500 km, motivating more careful attention to the horizontal wavelength spectrum of lower-atmospheric GW. A previous study of observations by the Thermal Emission Spectrometer (TES) on Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) reported substantial interannual variability in the horizontal wavelength spectrum of wave activity defined broadly, including GW. Here, we derive the horizontal wavelength spectrum of wave activity from the brightness temperature variance spectrum of MGS–TES observations resampled to the MRO–MCS spectral channels during Ls = 120°–150°, Mars Years 24 and 25. Lower-atmospheric wave activity is strongest at wavelengths <200 km, a population which resembles that observed by MRO–MCS and is likely GW activity. This short-wavelength population is distinct from a wave population with wavelengths >1000 km, which appears to be a mixture of tides and planetary waves. We find that interannual variability in GW activity previously identified using MGS–TES data largely arises from a change in the instrumental noise characteristics of MGS–TES during the first quarter of MY 25.

Original languageEnglish
Article number228
JournalPlanetary Science Journal
Volume3
Issue number10
Early online date12 Oct 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 31 Oct 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'The Horizontal Wavelength Spectrum of Gravity Wave Activity in Mars’s Lower Atmosphere: The Perspective from MGS–TES Nadir Observations'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this