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Detecting and Characterising atmospheric gravity waves on Mars’ atmosphere - Final results using data from OMEGA/Mars Express

Presentation #213.06 in the session Martian Aurora, Atmosphere, Winds, and Dust (Poster + Lightning Talk)

Published onOct 23, 2023
Detecting and Characterising atmospheric gravity waves on Mars’ atmosphere - Final results using data from OMEGA/Mars Express

We present the final results from the detection and characterisation of mesoscale waves on the lower clouds of Mars [1] using images from the Observatoire pour la Minéralogie, l’Eau, les Glaces et l’Activité (OMEGA) [2] onboard the European Mars Express (MEx) space mission [3]. We used image navigation and processing techniques based on contrast enhancement and geometrical projections to characterise morphological properties of the detected gravity waves (GW), such as horizontal wavelength or packet length. Our study covers 25 months of data spanning from Jan. 2004 to Jan. 2006, and from June to July 2007, corresponding to a one Martian year [MY26- MY27]. Out of 148 detected wave packets, we were able to characterise 61 across more than 4000 images covering a broad region of the Martian globe.

Our results reveal that waves exhibit an average horizontal wavelength of 23 km, which is consistent with previous observations [4,5]. We also extend the study by characterising their packet width, length and orientation. Taking advantage of the large dataset available from the OMEGA instrument, we also conducted a spatial and temporal investigation of the waves, namely their occurrence in specific local times and solar longitudes. Our characterisation showed a higher frequency of GW during daytime hours, particularly within the 13-15 LTST range. Concerning the solar longitude that is a measure of the Martian seasons, we noted that GW activity is prevalent during the winter season in both hemispheres, suggesting a relationship between seasonal variations and gravity wave generation, which was previously mentioned in the literature [6–8]. We will also present the preliminary results of GW using the HRSC instrument.


This work was supported by the Portuguese FCT of reference PTDC/FIS-AST/29942/2017, and by FEDER-COMPETE 2020 (POCI-01-0145-FEDER-007672), EMERGIA 2021 (EMC21_00249) and IAA (SEV-2017-0709), and through the grant 2021.05455.BD. Funded by ESA in the frame of MWWM - Mars Wind and Wave Mapping project. We thank the DLR team for the support on HRSC data and software, especially to Dr Klaus-Dieter Matz. We thank Aurélien Stcherbinine for the help with the omegapy python scripts.


1 F. Brasil et al., A&A, 2023 (submitted).

2 J.P. Bibring, et al., MEx Sci. payload, vol. 1240, 37–49, 2004.

3 A. Chicarro, et al., MEx Sci. payload, 1240, 2004.

4 N. G. Heavens, et al., Icarus, vol. 341, 113630, 2020.

5 K. Ogohara, et al., EPS, vol 75, 1, 2023.

6 N. G. Heavens, et al., PSJ, vol 3, no 10, 228, 2022.

7 J. L. Benson, et al., JGR Planets, vol 115, no 12, 2010.

8 J. L. Benson, et al., JGR Planets, vol 116, no 3, 1–13, 2011.

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