Impact of gradients at the martian terminator on the retrieval of ozone from SPICAM/Mex
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Rapid variations of pressure, temperature and illumination at the day–night terminator have the potential to cause asymmetries in the abundance distribution of the atmosphere constituents along the line of sight (LOS) of a solar occultation experiment. Ozone, in particular, displays steep density gradients across the terminator of Mars due to photolysis. Nowadays, most of the retrieval algorithms for solar and stellar occultations rely on the assumption of a spherically symmetrical atmosphere. However, photochemically induced variations near sunrise/sunset conditions need to be taken into account in the retrieval technique in order to prevent inaccuracies. We investigated the impact of gradients along the LOS of the solar occultation experiment SPICAM/Mars Express for the retrieval of ozone under sunrise/sunset conditions. In order to test the impact of different gradients, we selected four occultations at sunrise and at sunset each. Sunset occultations are located near the equator, while sunrise observations are situated at high latitudes in the South, because of the geometry of the orbit. We used the diurnal variations in the ozone concentration obtained from a three-dimensional General Circulation Model (GEM-Mars) together with an adapted radiative transfer code (ASIMUT). The General Circulation Model (GCM) suggests that ozone variations strongly depend on latitude, altitude, and season. As shown by the model, near the equator and below 25 km, ozone changes only slightly with local time. Around 45 km, the density changes by several orders of magnitude across the terminator. At high latitudes in the South, during northern winter time, ozone variations at the terminator are negligible. The impact of gradients on ozone retrievals is strongly related to the local atmospheric structure as predicted by the GCM. Sunset ozone retrievals are smaller than retrievals obtained assuming a spherically symmetrical atmosphere, with a maximum change of about 20%. At sunrise, the impact of gradients on the retrievals is negligible. This behavior can be explained by the specific geometry of sunrise observations, all situated at high latitudes in the South.
CitationPiccialli, A.; Vandaele, A.C.; Trompet, L.; Neary, L.; Viscardy, S.; Erwin, J.T.; Määttänen, A.; Daerden, F.; Willame, Y.; Robert, S.; Aoki, S.; Wilquet, V.; Lefèvre, F.; Montmessin, F. (2021). Impact of gradients at the martian terminator on the retrieval of ozone from SPICAM/Mex. , Icarus, Vol. 353, A113598, DOI: 10.1016/j.icarus.2019.113598.