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First absolute wind measurements in the middle atmosphere of Mars
Lellouch, Emmanuel; Rosenqvist, Jan; Goldstein, Jeffrey J.; Bougher, Stephen W.; Paubert, Gabriel
AA(Paris, Observatoire, Meudon, France), AB(Paris, Observatoire, Meudon, France), AC(National Air and Space Museum, Washington, DC), AD(Arizona, University, Tucson, AZ), AE(Instituto de Radioastronomia Milimetrica, Granada, Spain)
Astrophysical Journal, Part 1 (ISSN 0004-637X), vol. 383, Dec. 10, 1991, p. 401-406. (ApJ Homepage)
Publication Date:
Lunar and Planetary Exploration
NASA/STI Keywords:
Doppler Effect, Mars Atmosphere, Planetary Meteorology, Wind Measurement, Line Of Sight, Middle Atmosphere, Spatial Resolution
Bibliographic Code:


The first absolute wind measurements in the middle atmosphere of Mars (40-70 km) were obtained from Doppler shifts in the J = 2-1 CO transition at 230.538 GHz. During the 1988 opposition, this line was observed at 100 kHz resolution with the IRAM 30 m telescope. The 12-arcsec FWHM beam of the facility allowed spatial resolution of the Martian disk (23.8 arcsec). The high S/N of the data allowed measurement of winds with a 1-sigma absolute line-of-sight accuracy of 20 m/s. The measurements, performed during southern summer solstice, stress the Southern Hemisphere and clearly indicate a global easterlies flow. If modeled by a broad easterly jet with a maximum centered at 20 S, and extending 80 deg in latitude, the jet core velocity is found to have a chi-sq minimum at 160 m/s, generally consistent with predictions for broad summer easterly jets near 50 km as proposed by theoretical models. If the flow is modeled instead by a planet-wide solid rotator zonal flow which is restricted to the Southern Hemisphere or equatorial regions, the velocity of the easterlies is nearly the same. These wind measurements, together with the temperature measurements of Deming et al. (1986), provide the first experimental rough picture of the middle atmosphere circulation of Mars, in general agreement with the Jaquin axisymmetric middle atmosphere model and the current Mars GCM model of Pollack et al. (1990).

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