Spatial, Seasonal, and Solar Cycle Variations of the Martian Total Electron Content (TEC): Is the TEC a Good Tracer for Atmospheric Cycles?

DOI: 
10.1029/2018JE005626
Publication date: 
17/08/2018
Main author: 
Sánchez-Cano B.
IAA authors: 
González-Galindo, F.
Authors: 
Sánchez-Cano B., Lester M., Witasse O., Blelly P.-L., Indurain M., Cartacci M., González-Galindo F., Vicente-Retortillo Á., Cicchetti A., Noschese R.
Journal: 
Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets
Refereed: 
Yes
Publication type: 
Article
Volume: 
123
Pages: 
1746-1759
Abstract: 
We analyze 10 years of Mars Express total electron content (TEC) data from the Mars Advanced Radar for Subsurface and Ionospheric Sounding (MARSIS) instrument. We describe the spatial, seasonal, and solar cycle behavior of the Martian TEC. Due to orbit evolution, data come mainly from the evening, dusk terminator and postdusk nightside. The annual TEC profile shows a peak at Ls = 25–75° which is not related to the solar irradiance variation but instead coincides with an increase in the thermospheric density, possibly linked with variations in the surface pressure produced by atmospheric cycles such as the CO2 or water cycles. With the help of numerical modeling, we explore the contribution of the ion species to the TEC and the coupling between the thermosphere and ionosphere. These are the first observations which show that the TEC is a useful parameter, routinely measured by Mars Express, of the dynamics of the lower-upper atmospheric coupling and can be used as tracer for the behavior of the thermosphere. ©2018. The Authors.
Database: 
SCOPUS
ADS
URL: 
https://ui.adsabs.harvard.edu/#abs/2018JGRE..123.1746S/abstract
ADS Bibcode: 
2018JGRE..123.1746S
Keywords: 
atmospheric coupling; ionosphere modeling; Mars Express; Mars ionosphere; Mars thermosphere