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Dust haze in Valles Marineris observed by HRSC and OMEGA on board Mars Express

Dust haze in Valles Marineris observed by HRSC and OMEGA on board Mars Express

Publication date: 09 February 2008

Authors: Inada, A. et al.

Journal: J. Geophys. Res.
Volume: 113
Issue: E2
ID: E02004
Year: 2008

Copyright: American Geophysical Union

We present analysis of a bright haze observed inside Valles Marineris, which formed in mid northern spring. The data were collected by the High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) and the imaging spectrometer, Observatoire pour la Minéralogie, l'Eau, les Glaces et l'Activité (OMEGA), aboard Mars Express. This study provides a case example of the power of simultaneous multiple emission angle and hyperspectral imaging for study of aerosols and clouds in the Martian atmosphere. The haze appeared thinner after three days and disappeared in nine days. It was limited to a 2-km layer at the bottom of the canyon. The color was redder than the underlying surface. The analysis of the OMEGA spectra indicates that this haze was composed of dust particles. The dust layer appeared brighter with the HRSC stereo channels than the nadir channel due to longer scattering paths. We have estimated the optical depth of the haze by fitting both HRSC and OMEGA data with radiative transfer calculations. The retrieval of the optical depth is very sensitive to the aerosol scattering model used and the reflectance of the surface. Applying an aerosol scattering model derived from sky surveys at a constant elevation by the Imager for Mars Pathfinder, the optical depth of the haze is estimated from HRSC data to be within 1.7 to 2.3 at the wavelength of 0.675 micron. The wavelength dependence is obtained from OMEGA spectrum. It increases to 2.2-2.6 at lambda = 1.35 micron and moderately decreases to 1.2-1.8 at lambda = 2.4 micron.

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