Europlanet Science Congress 2022
Palacio de Congresos de Granada, Spain
18 – 23 September 2022
Europlanet Science Congress 2022
Palacio de Congresos de Granada, Spain
18 September – 23 September 2022
EPSC Abstracts
Vol. 16, EPSC2022-252, 2022, updated on 23 Sep 2022
Europlanet Science Congress 2022
© Author(s) 2022. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Characterising Atmospheric Gravity Waves on Mars using Mars Express OMEGA images – novel results from systematised study

Francisco Brasil1,2, Pedro Machado1,2, Gabriella Gilli3,1, Alejandro Cardesín-Moinelo4,1, José E. Silva1,2, Daniela Espadinha1,2, and Rafael Rianço-Silva2
Francisco Brasil et al.
  • 1Instituto de Astrofísica e Ciências do Espaço, Lisbon, Portugal (
  • 2Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa, Lisbon, Portugal
  • 3Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía (IAA-CSIC), Granada, Spain
  • 4European Space Astronomy Centre, Spain

Atmospheric gravity waves are mesoscale atmospheric oscillations in which buoyance acts as the restoring force, being a crucial factor in the circulation of planetary atmospheres since they transport momentum and energy, which can dissipate at different altitudes and force the dynamics of several layers of the atmosphere [1]. The source of these waves can be associated with the topographic features (orographic gravity waves) of surface, or with jet streams and atmospheric convection (non-orographic gravity waves). Recent modelling studies showed the strong role of gravity waves on diurnal tides on Mars atmosphere [2], however their characteristics are still not well constrained by observations.

Here we report follow-up results from the detection and charaterisation of atmospheric waves on Mars’ atmosphere, using data from the OMEGA spectrometer onboard the 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 waves.

Our observations include the MEx nominal mission of the OMEGA instrument for the Martian years 27 and 28 (from January 2004 – January 2006 and from June – July 2007), constituted by 27 orbits and 4072 hyperspectral data QUBES. Every image was navigated and processed in order to optimise the detection of the wave packets and accurate characterisation of the wave properties such as the horizontal wavelength, packet width, packet length and orientation. The characterised wave-packets present a wide range of properties over a broad region of Mars’ globe specially in the evolution of gravity waves along the time. We also found that the detected waves occur at solar longitudes between 240-250º and 330-340º, which almost corresponds to the beginning and the end of the dust storm seasons. This preliminary result suggest a relationship between the presence of atmospheric waves and the dust storm events, already mentioned by Gondet et al. (2019).



Acknowledgements: We acknowledge support from the Portuguese Fundação Para a Ciência e a Tecnologia of reference PTDC/FIS-AST/29942/2017, through national funds and by FEDER through COMPETE 2020 of reference POCI-01-0145-FEDER-007672, and through a grant of reference 2021.05455.BD. Funded by ESA Faculty research contract and Science Exchange Programme in the frame of MWWM - Mars Wind and Wave Mapping project. We would like to thank the late Dr Brigitte Gondet for her considerable help that made this work possible.



[1] Fritts, D. C.; Alexander, M. J. Gravity wave dynamics and effects in the middle atmosphere. Reviews of geophysics, 2003, 41.1.

[2] Gilli, G., et al. Impact of gravity waves on the middle atmosphere of Mars: A non‐orographic gravity wave parameterization based on global climate modeling and MCS observations. Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, 2020, 125.3: e2018JE005873.

[3] Brasil, Francisco, et al. Characterising Atmospheric Gravity Waves on Mars using Mars Express OMEGA images–a preliminary study. In: European Planetary Science Congress. 2021. p. EPSC2021-188.

[4] Gondet and J.-P. Bibring. Mars observations by omega/mex during the dust events from 2004 to 2019. In EPSC-DPS Joint Meeting 2019, volume 2019, pages EPSC–DPS2019, 2019.

How to cite: Brasil, F., Machado, P., Gilli, G., Cardesín-Moinelo, A., Silva, J. E., Espadinha, D., and Rianço-Silva, R.: Characterising Atmospheric Gravity Waves on Mars using Mars Express OMEGA images – novel results from systematised study, Europlanet Science Congress 2022, Granada, Spain, 18–23 Sep 2022, EPSC2022-252,, 2022.


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