Mapping Martian atmospheric pressure with ground-based near infrared spectroscopy

Sarah A. Chamberlain*, Jeremy A. Bailey, David Crisp

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


We present images of Mars obtained in the 2.0 μm CO2 band with the United Kingdom Infrared Telescope (UKIRT). The images reveal topographic features of the Martian surface that are usually invisible in direct albedo images at visible or IR wavelengths, but agree remarkably well with the topography of the planet as mapped by the MOLA instrument on Mars Global Surveyor. The CO2 band depth is a measure of the absorbing column of CO2 and hence determined primarily by the surface atmospheric pressure. The surface pressure variations are detected with a sensitivity of 4-5 Pa. We compare our data with radiative transfer models and find that the measured CO2 variation with pressure is consistent with the models. We discuss the possibility that similar observations might be used to observe atmospheric pressure changes due to Martian weather systems.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberAS05028
Pages (from-to)119-124
Number of pages6
JournalPublications of the Astronomical Society of Australia
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2006


  • Infrared: solar system
  • Planets and satellites: individual (Mars)
  • Techniques: spectroscopic


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