Retrieval simulations of the vertical profiles of water vapour and other chemical species in the Martian atmosphere using PACS

Portyankina, Ganna; Thomas, Nicolas; Hartogh, Paul; Sagawa, Hiroyuki (2010). Retrieval simulations of the vertical profiles of water vapour and other chemical species in the Martian atmosphere using PACS. In: Bhardwaj, Anil (ed.) Planetary Science (PS). Advances in Geosciences: Vol. 19 (pp. 271-284). Singapore: World Scientific Publishing 10.1142/9789812838162_0021

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Water vapour, despite being a minor constituent in the Martian atmosphere with its precipitable amount of less than 70 pr. μm, attracts considerable attention in the scientific community because of its potential importance for past life on Mars. The partial pressure of water vapour is highly variable because of its seasonal condensation onto the polar caps and exchange with a subsurface reservoir. It is also known to drive photochemical processes: photolysis of water produces H, OH, HO2 and some other odd hydrogen compounds, which in turn destroy ozone. Consequently, the abundance of water vapour is anti-correlated with ozone abundance. The Herschel Space Observatory provides for the first time the possibility to retrieve vertical water profiles in the Martian atmosphere. Herschel will contribute to this topic with its guaranteed-time key project called "Water and related chemistry in the solar system". Observations of Mars by Heterodyne Instrument for the Far Infrared (HIFI) and Photodetector Array Camera and Spectrometer (PACS) onboard Herschel are planned in the frame of the programme. HIFI with its high spectral resolution enables accurate observations of vertically resolved H2O and temperature profiles in the Martian atmosphere. Unlike HIFI, PACS is not capable of resolving the line-shape of molecular lines. However, our present study of PACS observations for the Martian atmosphere shows that the vertical sensitivity of the PACS observations can be improved by using multiple-line observations with different line opacities. We have investigated the possibility of retrieving vertical profiles of temperature and molecular abundances of minor species including H2O in the Martian atmosphere using PACS. In this paper, we report that PACS is able to provide water vapour vertical profiles for the Martian atmosphere and we present the expected spectra for future PACS observations. We also show that the spectral resolution does not allow the retrieval of several studied minor species, such as H2O2, HCl, NO, SO2, etc.

Item Type:

Book Section (Book Chapter)


08 Faculty of Science > Physics Institute > Space Research and Planetary Sciences

UniBE Contributor:

Portyankina, Ganna and Thomas, Nicolas


500 Science > 520 Astronomy
600 Technology > 620 Engineering




Advances in Geosciences


World Scientific Publishing




Factscience Import

Date Deposited:

04 Oct 2013 14:16

Last Modified:

04 May 2014 01:31

Publisher DOI:


URI: (FactScience: 209507)

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