Formation of layers of methane in the atmosphere of Mars after surface release
Earth and related Environmental sciences
General circulation model
Methane on Mars
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Simulations with a general circulation model for the atmosphere of Mars show that surface emissions of methane can result in a highly nonuniform vertical distribution throughout the atmosphere, including the formation of layers, during the first weeks after the release. The fate of the released methane is determined by the global circulation pattern at the time of the release, and the methane can be transported to locations over the planet that are remote from the emission site. It typically takes several weeks for the methane to become more uniformly mixed, implying that the detection of vertical layers of methane can be indicative of recent surface emission. This puts the existing observations in a new perspective and will allow instruments on the upcoming ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter mission to detect signatures of surface emission activity as they are designed to measure the first vertical profiles of methane on Mars. © 2016. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.
CitationViscardy, S.; Daerden, F.; Neary, L. (2016). Formation of layers of methane in the atmosphere of Mars after surface release. , Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 43, Issue 5, 1868-1875, DOI: 10.1002/2015GL067443.