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Geoscientific Instrumentation, Methods and Data Systems An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 03 Apr 2019

Research article | 03 Apr 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Geoscientific Instrumentation, Methods and Data Systems (GI).

A user-orientated column modelling framework for efficient analyses of the Martian atmosphere

Mark Paton1, Ari-Matti Harri1, Oliver Vierkens1, and Hannu Savijärvi2 Mark Paton et al.
  • 1Finnish Meteorological Institute, P.O. Box 503, FIN-00101 Helsinki, Finland
  • 2Department of Physics, University of Helsinki, FI-00560, Finland

Abstract. As spacecraft missions return ever more data from Mars additional tools will be required to explore and analyse these datasets efficiently. To streamline research into the atmosphere of Mars a user-orientated modelling capability is developed that enables automatic initialisation and running of a column model.

As a demonstration we utilise the modelling framework to provide additional verification for the University of Helsinki/Finnish Meteorological Institute Mars column model temperature profiles at the higher altitudes. We utilise the framework at well characterised landing sites to understand the model's applicability and to identify future opportunities for modifications to the framework. We do this by using the framework to compare the column model to temperature soundings made by Mars Reconaissance Orbiter.

We find the column model is able to reproduce the observed lapse rates and average temperatures closely in most cases except for a 20–60 K increase over the northern hemisphere mid-winter. By incorporating an adiabatic heating term into the column model we suggest this discrepancy is likely due to the adiabatic compression of down welling air. We estimate maximum downward vertical velocities at the VL-1 and VL-2 latitudes of 8 and 12 cm s−1 at altitudes of 15 and 20 km respectively over the winter solstice. The fitting approach developed here provides a way to independently estimate or observe the vertical motion in the Martian atmosphere.

We have introduced new application software that can quickly find and display the requested data and can be immediately analysed using the included tools. We have demonstrated the potential of this software application with a glimpse into the upper atmosphere of Mars and identified future modifications to the framework.

Mark Paton et al.
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Status: open (until 04 Jun 2019)
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Mark Paton et al.
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Publications Copernicus
Short summary
A software application for streamlining investigations of the Martian atmosphere is described. The main components are a 1D model of the Martian atmosphere, observations of the Martian atmosphere and a software wrapper. We verify our model using the application. The model and observations agree except over the winter solstice where mechanical heating of the atmosphere, from downward flowing air, is likely warming the atmosphere. We update our model to include this effect.
A software application for streamlining investigations of the Martian atmosphere is described....