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Published March 19, 2009 | Published
Journal Article Open

Thermal tides in the Martian middle atmosphere as seen by the Mars Climate Sounder


The first systematic observations of the middle atmosphere of Mars (35–80km) with the Mars Climate Sounder (MCS) show dramatic patterns of diurnal thermal variation, evident in retrievals of temperature and water ice opacity. At the time of writing, the data set of MCS limb retrievals is sufficient for spectral analysis within a limited range of latitudes and seasons. This analysis shows that these thermal variations are almost exclusively associated with a diurnal thermal tide. Using a Martian general circulation model to extend our analysis, we show that the diurnal thermal tide dominates these patterns for all latitudes and all seasons.

Additional Information

© 2009 American Geophysical Union. Received 23 October 2008; accepted 6 January 2009; published 19 March 2009. The authors acknowledge J. Shirley, C. Backus, T. Pavlicek, and E. Sayfi for their contribution to the acquisition and analysis of MCS data and thank the anonymous reviewers for their useful comments and work in improving this manuscript. This work was funded by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration through the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter project.

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