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Published October 21, 2009 | Published
Journal Article Open

Mars Climate Sounder limb profile retrieval of atmospheric temperature, pressure, and dust and water ice opacity


The Mars Climate Sounder (MCS) onboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter is the latest of a series of investigations devoted to improving the understanding of current Martian climate. MCS is a nine-channel passive midinfrared and far-infrared filter radiometer designed to measure thermal emission in limb and on-planet geometries from which vertical profiles of atmospheric temperature, water vapor, dust, and condensates can be retrieved. Here we describe the algorithm that is used to retrieve atmospheric profiles from MCS limb measurements for delivery to the Planetary Data System. The algorithm is based on a modified Chahine method and uses a fast radiative transfer scheme based on the Curtis-Godson approximation. It retrieves pressure and vertical profiles of atmospheric temperature, dust opacity, and water ice opacity. Water vapor retrievals involve a different approach and will be reported separately. Pressure can be retrieved to a precision of 1–2% and is used to establish the vertical coordinate. Temperature profiles are retrieved over a range from 5–10 to 80–90 km altitude with a typical altitude resolution of 4–6 km and a precision between 0.5 and 2 K over most of this altitude range. Dust and water ice opacity profiles also achieve vertical resolutions of about 5 km and typically have precisions of 10^(−4)–10^(−5) km^(−1) at 463 cm^(−1) and 843 cm^(−1), respectively. Examples of temperature profiles as well as dust and water ice opacity profiles from the first year of the MCS mission are presented, and atmospheric features observed during periods employing different MCS operational modes are described. An intercomparison with historical temperature measurements from the Mars Global Surveyor mission shows good agreement.

Additional Information

© 2009 American Geophysical Union. Received 5 February 2009; accepted 19 June 2009; published 21 October 2009. We would like to thank the MRO spacecraft and MCS instrument operations teams who made these measurements possible. We also wish to thank Joshua Bandfield and Timothy Glotch for contributing spectroscopic parameters of dust. We are indebted to Michael Wolff for providing limb scattering calculations in addition to his review of the manuscript. Furthermore, we acknowledge Nicholas Heavens for helpful comments on the manuscript. Work at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, was performed under a contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

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Published - Kleinboehl2009p6276J_Geophys_Res-Planet.pdf


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August 21, 2023
October 19, 2023