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The martian atmosphere during the Viking mission. I. Infrared measurements of atmospheric temperatures revisited

By R. John Wilson and Mark I. Richardson


temperature observations (IRTM T 15) provide extensive spatial and temporal coverage of martian atmospheric temperatures on diurnal to seasonal time scales. The 15-µm channel was designed so that these temperatures would be representative of a deep layer of atmosphere centered at 0.5 mb (∼25 km). Our re-examination of the IRTM data indicates that the 15-µm channel was additionally sensitive to surface radiance so that air temperature determinations (nominal T 15) are significantly biased when the thermal contrast between the surface and atmosphere is large. This bias is suggested by the strong correlation between the diurnal variation of tropical T 15 and surface temperatures for non-dust-storm conditions. We show that numerical modeling of the thermal tides provides a basis for distinguishing between the surface and atmospheric contributions to IRTM T 15 and thus allows the atmospheric component to be estimated. The resulting bias amounts to a ∼15-K offset for midda

Year: 2000
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