Constraints on Mars Aphelion Cloud Belt Phase Function and Ice Crystal Geometries

Status Report From: e-Print archive
Posted: Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Brittney A. Cooper, John E. Moores, Douglas J. Ellison, Jacob L. Kloos, Christina L. Smith, Scott D. Guzewich, Charissa L. Campbell
(Submitted on 15 Jan 2019)

This study constrains the lower bound of the scattering phase function of Martian water ice clouds (WICs) through the implementation of a new observation aboard the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL). The Phase Function Sky Survey (PFSS) was a multiple pointing all-sky observation taken with the navigation cameras (Navcam) aboard MSL. The PFSS was executed 35 times during the Aphelion Cloud Belt (ACB) season of Mars Year 34 over a solar longitude range of L_s=61.4°-156.5°. Twenty observations occurred in the morning hours between 06:00 and 09:30 LTST, and 15 runs occurred in the evening hours between 14:30 and 18:00 LTST, with an operationally required 2.5 hour gap on either side of local noon due the sun being located near zenith. The resultant WIC phase function was derived over an observed scattering angle range of 18.3° to 152.61°, normalized, and compared with 9 modeled phase functions: seven ice crystal habits and two Martian WIC phase functions currently being implemented in models. Through statistical chi-squared probability tests, the five most probable ice crystal geometries observed in the ACB WICs were aggregates, hexagonal solid columns, hollow columns, plates, and bullet rosettes with p-values greater than or equal to 0.60, 0.57,0.56,0.56, and 0.55, respectively. Droxtals and spheres had p-values of 0.35, and 0.2, making them less probable components of Martian WICs, but still statistically possible ones. Having a better understanding of the ice crystal habit and phase function of Martian water ice clouds directly benefits Martian climate models which currently assume spherical and cylindrical particles.

Comments:    Accepted Manuscript by Planetary and Space Science
Subjects:    Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP)
Cite as:    arXiv:1901.04951 [astro-ph.EP] (or arXiv:1901.04951v1 [astro-ph.EP] for this version)
Submission history
From: Brittney Cooper
[v1] Tue, 15 Jan 2019 17:49:03 UTC (5,102 KB)

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