Climatologies of the Martian Atmospheric Dust Optical Depth
We provide a multiannual climatology of airborne dust from Martian year
24 to 34 using observations of the Martian atmosphere
from April 1999 to March 2018 made by the
Thermal Emission Spectrometer (TES) aboard Mars Global Surveyor, the
Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS) aboard Mars Odyssey, and the
Mars Climate Sounder (MCS) aboard Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO).
Our methodology works by gridding the available retrievals of column
dust optical depth (CDOD) from TES and THEMIS nadir observations, as well
as the estimates of this quantity from MCS limb observations. The
resulting (irregularly) gridded maps were validated with independent observations of
CDOD by PanCam cameras and Mini-TES spectrometers aboard the Mars
Exploration Rovers "Spirit" and "Opportunity", by the Surface Stereo
Imager aboard the Phoenix lander, by the Compact Reconnaissance
Imaging Spectrometer for Mars and the Mars Color Imager camera aboard MRO, and by the MastCam camera aboard the Mars Science Laboratory "Curiosity".
Finally, regular maps of CDOD are produced
by spatially interpolating the irregularly gridded maps using a kriging
method. These latter maps are used as column-integrated dust scenarios in the Mars
Climate Database (MCD) version 5, and are useful in many modelling
The two types of data set (irregularly gridded maps and regularly kriged maps) for the eleven available Martian years are publicly available and can be downloaded below (version 2.x).
The detailed description of the methodology and data sets can be found in the following scientific articles:
- Montabone, L., Forget, F., Millour, E., Wilson, R.J., Lewis, S.R., Cantor, B., Kass, D.,
Kleinböhl, A., Lemmon, M.T., Smith, M.D., Wolff, M.J., Eight-year Climatology of Dust Optical Depth on Mars.
Icarus 251, pp. 65-95 (2015), doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.icarus.2014.12.034 [Access the article]
- Montabone, L., Spiga, A., Kass, D. M., Kleinböhl, A., Forget, F., Millour, E., Martian Year 34 Column Dust Climatology from Mars Climate Sounder Observations: Reconstructed Maps and Model Simulations. J. Geophys. Res. - Planets (2020), doi: https://doi.org/10.1029/2019JE006111 [Access the article]
If you have no subscriptions to the journal Icarus or JGR, and cannot access the articles, please send an email to the contact below.
Observation-only, incomplete-coverage maps:
Daily irregularly gridded maps of 9.3 μm absorption column dust optical depth for several Martian years (MY). Spatial Resolution: 6° longitude x 3° latitude for MY24, 25, 26; 6° longitude x 5° latitude for the other Martian years. Temporal resolution: 24 hours (i.e. 1 map per sol). Data files are available in NetCDF format (74 MB for MY24, 25, 26; 45 MB for MY 27 through 33; 50 MB for MY 34; 277 MB for the complete zipped tar file including all years). Plotted maps for the first 10 years (MY 24-33) are available as animated GIF (53 MB; each frame represents a sol-of-year with 10 maps, one for each available Martian year).
!New! : MY34
All MYs (tar.gz file)
!New! : Sub-daily irregularly gridded maps of 9.3 μm absorption column dust optical depth for MY 34. Spatial resolution: 6° longitude x 5° latitude. Temporal resolution: 6 hours (i.e. 4 maps per sol). Data file is available in NetCDF format (177 MB).
Complete-coverage reconstructed maps (for Mars Climate Modeling):
Daily column-integrated dust scenarios (regularly kriged maps of 9.3 μm absorption column dust optical depth) for several Martian years (MY). Spatial resolution: 3° longitude x 3° latitude. Temporal resolution: 24 hours (i.e. 1 map per sol). Data files are available in NetCDF format (56 MB for single year file; 496 MB for the complete zipped tar file including all years). Plotted maps for the the first 10 years (MY 24-33) are available as animated GIF (42 MB; each frame represents a sol-of-year with 10 maps, one for each available Martian year).
!New! : MY34
All MYs (tar.gz file)
- To get the extinction optical depth, you can multiply the absorption optical depth by 1.3. Equivalent visible column optical depths can be obtained by multiplying the 9.3 μm absorption column dust optical depth by 2.6. See detailed discussion in Montabone et al., Icarus, 2015, Section 2.3.4;
- The data files include both the column dust optical depth normalized to the 610 Pa reference level and the column dust optical depth normalized to the gridded surface pressure value (surface pressure is gridded from the Mars Climate Database). If you require a local column optical depth, you could either interpolate the provided variable normalized to the gridded MCD surface pressure, or multiply the provided variable normalized to 610 Pa by "surface pressure (Pa)/610", where "surface pressure" is the local surface pressure of your choice;
- The files for MY 33 are version 2.1. Two things have changed with respect to version 2.0 of previous Martian years: 1) We use the latest release of MCS retrievals (version 5.2 with "2-dimensional" retrievals, see Kleinböhl, A., et al., J. Quant. Spectrosc. Radiat. Transf. 187, pp 511-522, 2016), and 2) We give less weight to THEMIS retrievals of CDOD with respect to MCS estimates of CDOD: 50% weight with time window of 1 sol, 10% with time windows of 3, 5, 7 sols (see Montabone et al., Icarus, 2015, for an explanation of time windows);
- The files for MY 34 are version 2.5 (daily gridded and kriged maps) and version 2.5.1 (four gridded maps per sol). The details of these data sets are included in Montabone et al., 2019. We just remind here that the daily gridded maps v2.5 are the diurnal averages of the maps in v2.5.1, and the daily kriged maps v2.5 interpolate the daily gridded maps v2.5. We have not produced kriged maps directly from v2.5.1, for reasons explained in Montabone et al., 2019.
Figures: (Left) Zonal means of the daily irregularly gridded maps of 9.3 μm absorption column dust optical depth normalized to the reference 610 Pa pressure level for the different Martian Years. (Right) Zonal means of the daily regularly kriged maps of 9.3 μm absorption column dust optical depth normalized to the reference 610 Pa pressure level for the different Martian Years.
Please, send questions and feedback to Luca Montabone (lmontabone [at] spacescience.org).
Feedback from users are extremely important for us, as they will be taken into account in future versions of the data sets.
Although we do not require any formal registration to download the data sets, we would highly appreciate if you tell us who you are if you download the files, by sending an informal email to the contact email address above, including at least your name, affiliation (if applicable), and planned use of the data sets. This would help us a lot to assess the impact of our work, and would make sure that we will keep you updated about possible errors, warnings, and future versions. We will not use your contact details for anything else than just keeping you updated about the data sets when needed. Even if you do not want to be updated, please consider sending us an email to tell us who you are, and make explicit that you do not want to be contacted further.
Copyright and disclaimer
Data included in the NetCDF files above are publicly available with open access, under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License (i.e. you are free to copy, redistribute, and modify the material for scientific as well as commercial purposes, as far as you give appropriate credit, indicate if changes were made, and distribute your contributions with the same license as the original).
These data are made publicly available on the condition that we provide no warranties regarding the reliability, validity or accuracy of the data, and we bear no responsibility for any use made of such data.