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Density Fluctuations in the Lower Thermosphere of Mars Retrieved From the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) Aerobraking

Tidal Wave-Driven Variability in the Mars Ionosphere-Thermosphere System

Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, CO 80303, USA
Center for Space Physics, Boston University, Boston, MA 02215, USA
NASA Goddard Spaceflight Center, Greenbelt, MD 20771, USA
Center for Research and Exploration in Space Science & Technology (CRESST), University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742, USA
Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía-Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (IAA-CSIC), 18008 Granada, Spain
Climate and Space Sciences and Engineering Department, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Atmosphere 2020, 11(5), 521;
Received: 23 April 2020 / Revised: 13 May 2020 / Accepted: 15 May 2020 / Published: 19 May 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Observations and Measurements of the Martian Atmosphere)
In order to further evaluate the behavior of ionospheric variations at Mars, we investigate the Martian ionosphere-thermosphere (IT) perturbations associated with non-migrating thermal tides using over four years of Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) in situ measurements of the IT electron and neutral densities. The results are consistent with those of previous studies, namely strong correlation between the tidal perturbations in electron and neutral densities on the dayside at altitudes ~150–185 km, as expected from photochemical theory. In addition, there are intervals during which this correlation extends to higher altitudes, up to ~270 km, where diffusive transport of plasma plays a dominant role over photochemical processes. This is significant because at these altitudes the thermosphere and ionosphere are only weakly coupled through collisions. The identified non-migrating tidal wave variations in the neutral thermosphere are predominantly wave-1, wave-2, and wave-3. Wave-1 is often the dominant wavenumber for electron density tidal variations, particularly at high altitudes over crustal fields. The Mars Climate Database (MCD) neutral densities (below 300 km along the MAVEN orbit) shows clear tidal variations which are predominantly wave-2 and wave-3, and have similar wave amplitudes to those observed. View Full-Text
Keywords: Mars ionosphere; Mars thermosphere; tidal waves; ionosphere-thermosphere coupling Mars ionosphere; Mars thermosphere; tidal waves; ionosphere-thermosphere coupling
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MDPI and ACS Style

Thaller, S.A.; Andersson, L.; Pilinski, M.D.; Thiemann, E.; Withers, P.; Elrod, M.; Fang, X.; González-Galindo, F.; Bougher, S.; Jenkins, G. Tidal Wave-Driven Variability in the Mars Ionosphere-Thermosphere System. Atmosphere 2020, 11, 521.

AMA Style

Thaller SA, Andersson L, Pilinski MD, Thiemann E, Withers P, Elrod M, Fang X, González-Galindo F, Bougher S, Jenkins G. Tidal Wave-Driven Variability in the Mars Ionosphere-Thermosphere System. Atmosphere. 2020; 11(5):521.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Thaller, Scott A., Laila Andersson, Marcin Dominik Pilinski, Edward Thiemann, Paul Withers, Meredith Elrod, Xiaohua Fang, Francisco González-Galindo, Stephen Bougher, and Geoffrey Jenkins. 2020. "Tidal Wave-Driven Variability in the Mars Ionosphere-Thermosphere System" Atmosphere 11, no. 5: 521.

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