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Analyzing Martian winds and tracer concentrations using Mars Observer dataDuring the courses of a day, the Mars Observer spacecraft will acquire globally distributed profiles of the martian atmosphere. It is highly desirable that this data be assembled into synoptic weather maps (complete specifications of the atmospheric pressure, temperature, and winds at a given time), which can in turn be used as starting points in the study of many meteorological phenomena. Unfortunately, the special nature of the Mars Observer data presents several challenges above and beyond the usual difficult problem of data initialization. Mars Observer atmospheric data will consist almost exclusively of asynoptic vertical profiles of temperatures (or radiances) and pressures, whereas winds are generally in balance with horizontal gradients of these quantities (which will not be observed). It will therefore be necessary to resort to dynamical models to analyze the wind fields. As a rule, data assimilation into atmospheric models can result in the generation of spurious gravity waves, so special steps must be taken to suppress these. In addition, the asynoptic nature of the data will require a four-dimensional (space and time) data assimilation scheme. The problem is to find a full set of meteorological fields (winds and temperatures) such that, when marched forward in time in the model, they achieve a best fit (in the weighted least-squares sense) to the data. The proposed solution is to develop a model especially for the Mars Observer data assimilation problem. Gravity waves are filtered from the model by eliminating all divergence terms from the prognostic divergence equation. This leaves a diagnostic gradient wind relation between the rotational wind and the temperature field. The divergent wind is diagnosed as the wind required to maintain the gradient wind balance in the presence of the diabatic heating. The primitive equations of atmospheric dynamics (with three principal dependent variables) are thus reduced to a simpler system with a single prognostic equation for temperature - the variable that will be best observed. (This balance system was apparently first derived by Charney as a first-order Rossby number expansion of the equations of motion). Experience with a full primitive equation model of the martian atmosphere indicates that a further simplification is possible: at least for short-term integrations, the model can be linearized about the zonally symmetric basic state.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Legacy CDMS
Document Type
Conference Paper
Houben, Howard C.
(Space Physics Research Inst. Sunnyvale, CA, United States)
Date Acquired
September 6, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 1993
Publication Information
Publication: Lunar and Planetary Inst., Workshop on Atmospheric Transport on Mars
Subject Category
Lunar And Planetary Exploration
Accession Number
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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