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See detailMartian dust storm impact on atmospheric H 2 O and D/H observed by ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter
Vandaele, A. C.; Korablev, O.; Daerden, F. et al

in Nature (2019), 568

Global dust storms on Mars are rare 1,2 but can affect the Martian atmosphere for several months. They can cause changes in atmospheric dynamics and inflation of the atmosphere 3 , primarily owing to ... [more ▼]

Global dust storms on Mars are rare 1,2 but can affect the Martian atmosphere for several months. They can cause changes in atmospheric dynamics and inflation of the atmosphere 3 , primarily owing to solar heating of the dust 3 . In turn, changes in atmospheric dynamics can affect the distribution of atmospheric water vapour, with potential implications for the atmospheric photochemistry and climate on Mars 4 . Recent observations of the water vapour abundance in the Martian atmosphere during dust storm conditions revealed a high-altitude increase in atmospheric water vapour that was more pronounced at high northern latitudes 5,6 , as well as a decrease in the water column at low latitudes 7,8 . Here we present concurrent, high-resolution measurements of dust, water and semiheavy water (HDO) at the onset of a global dust storm, obtained by the NOMAD and ACS instruments onboard the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter. We report the vertical distribution of the HDO/H 2 O ratio (D/H) from the planetary boundary layer up to an altitude of 80 kilometres. Our findings suggest that before the onset of the dust storm, HDO abundances were reduced to levels below detectability at altitudes above 40 kilometres. This decrease in HDO coincided with the presence of water-ice clouds. During the storm, an increase in the abundance of H 2 O and HDO was observed at altitudes between 40 and 80 kilometres. We propose that these increased abundances may be the result of warmer temperatures during the dust storm causing stronger atmospheric circulation and preventing ice cloud formation, which may confine water vapour to lower altitudes through gravitational fall and subsequent sublimation of ice crystals 3 . The observed changes in H 2 O and HDO abundance occurred within a few days during the development of the dust storm, suggesting a fast impact of dust storms on the Martian atmosphere. © 2019, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Limited. [less ▲]

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See detailNo detection of methane on Mars from early ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter observations
Korablev, O.; Vandaele, A. C.; Montmessin, F. et al

in Nature (2019), 568

The detection of methane on Mars has been interpreted as indicating that geochemical or biotic activities could persist on Mars today 1 . A number of different measurements of methane show evidence of ... [more ▼]

The detection of methane on Mars has been interpreted as indicating that geochemical or biotic activities could persist on Mars today 1 . A number of different measurements of methane show evidence of transient, locally elevated methane concentrations and seasonal variations in background methane concentrations 2–5 . These measurements, however, are difficult to reconcile with our current understanding of the chemistry and physics of the Martian atmosphere 6,7 , which—given methane’s lifetime of several centuries—predicts an even, well mixed distribution of methane 1,6,8 . Here we report highly sensitive measurements of the atmosphere of Mars in an attempt to detect methane, using the ACS and NOMAD instruments onboard the ESA-Roscosmos ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter from April to August 2018. We did not detect any methane over a range of latitudes in both hemispheres, obtaining an upper limit for methane of about 0.05 parts per billion by volume, which is 10 to 100 times lower than previously reported positive detections 2,4 . We suggest that reconciliation between the present findings and the background methane concentrations found in the Gale crater 4 would require an unknown process that can rapidly remove or sequester methane from the lower atmosphere before it spreads globally. [less ▲]

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See detailNOMAD, an Integrated Suite of Three Spectrometers for the ExoMars Trace Gas Mission: Technical Description, Science Objectives and Expected Performance
Vandaele, A. C.; Lopez-Moreno, J.-J.; Patel, M. R. et al

in Space Science Reviews (2018), 214

The NOMAD ("Nadir and Occultation for MArs Discovery") spectrometer suite on board the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) has been designed to investigate the composition of Mars' atmosphere, with a ... [more ▼]

The NOMAD ("Nadir and Occultation for MArs Discovery") spectrometer suite on board the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) has been designed to investigate the composition of Mars' atmosphere, with a particular focus on trace gases, clouds and dust. The detection sensitivity for trace gases is considerably improved compared to previous Mars missions, compliant with the science objectives of the TGO mission. This will allow for a major leap in our knowledge and understanding of the Martian atmospheric composition and the related physical and chemical processes. The instrument is a combination of three spectrometers, covering a spectral range from the UV to the mid-IR, and can perform solar occultation, nadir and limb observations. In this paper, we present the science objectives of the instrument and explain the technical principles of the three spectrometers. We also discuss the expected performance of the instrument in terms of spatial and temporal coverage and detection sensitivity. [less ▲]

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See detailProcess-evaluation of tropospheric humidity simulated by general circulation models using water vapor isotopologues: 1. Comparison between models and observations
Risi, C; Noone, D; Worden, J et al

in Journal of Geophysical Research (2012), 117(D5), 05303

N2 - The goal of this study is to determine how H2O and HDO measurements in water vapor can be used to detect and diagnose biases in the representation of processes controlling tropospheric humidity in ... [more ▼]

N2 - The goal of this study is to determine how H2O and HDO measurements in water vapor can be used to detect and diagnose biases in the representation of processes controlling tropospheric humidity in atmospheric general circulation models (GCMs). We analyze a large number of isotopic data sets (four satellite, sixteen ground-based remote-sensing, five surface in situ and three aircraft data sets) that are sensitive to different altitudes throughout the free troposphere. Despite significant differences between data sets, we identify some observed HDO/H2O characteristics that are robust across data sets and that can be used to evaluate models. We evaluate the isotopic GCM LMDZ, accounting for the effects of spatiotemporal sampling and instrument sensitivity. We find that LMDZ reproduces the spatial patterns in the lower and mid troposphere remarkably well. However, it underestimates the amplitude of seasonal variations in isotopic composition at all levels in the subtropics and in midlatitudes, and this bias is consistent across all data sets. LMDZ also underestimates the observed meridional isotopic gradient and the contrast between dry and convective tropical regions compared to satellite data sets. Comparison with six other isotope-enabled GCMs from the SWING2 project shows that biases exhibited by LMDZ are common to all models. The SWING2 GCMs show a very large spread in isotopic behavior that is not obviously related to that of humidity, suggesting water vapor isotopic measurements could be used to expose model shortcomings. In a companion paper, the isotopic differences between models are interpreted in terms of biases in the representation of processes controlling humidity. [less ▲]

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See detailCO measurements from the ACE-FTS satellite instrument: data analysis and validation using ground-based, airborne and spaceborne observations
Clerbaux, Catherine; George, Maya; Turquety, Solène et al

in Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (2008), 8

The Atmospheric Chemistry Experiment (ACE) mission was launched in August 2003 to sound the atmosphere by solar occultation. Carbon monoxide (CO), a good tracer of pollution plumes and atmospheric ... [more ▼]

The Atmospheric Chemistry Experiment (ACE) mission was launched in August 2003 to sound the atmosphere by solar occultation. Carbon monoxide (CO), a good tracer of pollution plumes and atmospheric dynamics, is one of the key species provided by the primary instrument, the ACE-Fourier Transform Spectrometer (ACE-FTS). This instrument performs measurements in both the CO 1-0 and 2-0 ro-vibrational bands, from which vertically resolved CO concentration profiles are retrieved, from the mid-troposphere to the thermosphere. This paper presents an updated description of the ACE-FTS version 2.2 CO data product, along with a comprehensive validation of these profiles using available observations (February 2004 to December 2006). We have compared the CO partial columns with ground-based measurements using Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy and millimeter wave radiometry, and the volume mixing ratio profiles with airborne (both high-altitude balloon flight and airplane) observations. CO satellite observations provided by nadir-looking instruments (MOPITT and TES) as well as limb-viewing remote sensors (MIPAS, SMR and MLS) were also compared with the ACE-FTS CO products. We show that the ACE-FTS measurements provide CO profiles with small retrieval errors (better than 5% from the upper troposphere to 40 km, and better than 10% above). These observations agree well with the correlative measurements, considering the rather loose coincidence criteria in some cases. Based on the validation exercise we assess the following uncertainties to the ACE-FTS measurement data: better than 15% in the upper troposphere (8–12 km), than 30% in the lower stratosphere (12–30 km), and than 25% from 30 to 100 km. [less ▲]

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See detailValidation of MIPAS ClONO2 measurements
Hopfner, Michael; von Clarmann, Thomas; Fischer, H. et al

in Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (2007), 7

Altitude profiles of ClONO2 retrieved with the IMK (Institut fur Meteorologie und Klimaforschung) science-oriented data processor from MIPAS/Envisat (Michelson Interferometer for Passive Atmospheric ... [more ▼]

Altitude profiles of ClONO2 retrieved with the IMK (Institut fur Meteorologie und Klimaforschung) science-oriented data processor from MIPAS/Envisat (Michelson Interferometer for Passive Atmospheric Sounding on Envisat) mid-infrared limb emission measurements between July 2002 and March 2004 have been validated by comparison with balloon-borne (Mark IV, FIRS2, MIPAS-B), airborne (MIPAS-STR), ground-based (Spitsbergen, Thule, Kiruna, Harestua, Jungfraujoch, Izana, Wollongong, Lauder), and spaceborne (ACE-FTS) observations. With few exceptions we found very good agreement between these instruments and MIPAS with no evidence for any bias in most cases and altitude regions. For balloon-borne measurements typical absolute mean differences are below 0.05 ppbv over the whole altitude range from 10 to 39 km. In case of ACE-FTS observations mean differences are below 0.03 ppbv for observations below 26 km. Above this altitude the comparison with ACE-FTS is affected by the photochemically induced diurnal variation of ClONO2. Correction for this by use of a chemical transport model led to an overcompensation of the photochemical effect by up to 0.1 ppbv at altitudes of 30-35 km in case of MIPAS-ACE-FTS comparisons while for the balloon-borne observations no such inconsistency has been detected. The comparison of MIPAS derived total column amounts with ground-based observations revealed no significant bias in the MIPAS data. Mean differences between MIPAS and FTIR column abundances are 0.11 +/- 0.12 x 10(14) cm(-2) (1.0 +/- 1.1%) and -0.09 +/- 0.19 x 10(14) cm(-2) (-0.8 +/- 1.7%), depending on the coincidence criterion applied. chi(2) tests have been performed to assess the combined precision estimates of MIPAS and the related instruments. When no exact coincidences were available as in case of MIPAS-FTIR or MIPAS-ACE-FTS comparisons it has been necessary to take into consideration a coincidence error term to account for chi(2) deviations. From the resulting chi(2) profiles there is no evidence for a systematic over/underestimation of the MIPAS random error analysis. [less ▲]

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