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, EPSC2022-885, 2022
Europlanet Science Congress 2022
© Author(s) 2022. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

 Atmospheric processes affecting methane on Mars 

John Lee Grenfell1, Fabian Wunderlich1,2, Miriam Sinnhuber3, Konstantin Herbst4, Ralph Lehmann5, Markus Scheucher6, Stefanie Gebauer1, Gabriele Arnold1, and Heike Rauer1,2,7
John Lee Grenfell et al.
  • 1Deutsches Zentrum für Luft und Raumfahrt, Institute of Planetary Research, Berlin, Germany
  • 2Zentrum für Astronomie und Astrophysik (ZAA), Technische Universität Berlin (TUB), Hardenbergstr. 36, 10623 Berlin, Germany
  • 3Institute for Meteorology and Climate Research, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Hermann-von-Helmholtz-Platz 1, 76344 Eggenstein-Leopoldshafen, Germany
  • 4Institute of Experimental and Applied Physics, Extraterrestrial Physics, Kiel University (CAU), Leibnitzstr. 11, 24118 Kiel, Germany
  • 5Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI), Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, Telegrafenberg A45, 14473 Potsdam, Germany
  • 6Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), 4800 Oak Grove Dr, Pasadena, CA 91109, USA
  • 7Institut für Geologische Wissenschaften, Freie Universitat ¨ Berlin (FUB), Malteserstr. 74-100, 12249 Berlin, Germany

It is currently uncertain as to whether methane exists on Mars. Data from the Curiosity Rover suggests a
background methane concentration of a few tenths parts per billion whereas data from the Trace Gas Orbiter
suggest an upper limit of twenty parts per trillion. If methane exists on Mars then we do not understand fully the
physical and chemical processes affecting its lifetime. Atmospheric models suggest an over-estimate in the
lifetime by a factor of around six hundred compared with earlier observations. In the present work we assume the
Curiosity Rover background methane value and estimate the uncertainty in atmospheric chemistry and mixing
processes in our atmospheric column model 1D TERRA. Results suggest that these processes can only explain a
factor of ~sixteen lowering in the methane lifetime. This implies that if methane is present then additional,
currently unknown processes are required to explain the observed lifetime.

How to cite: Grenfell, J. L., Wunderlich, F., Sinnhuber, M., Herbst, K., Lehmann, R., Scheucher, M., Gebauer, S., Arnold, G., and Rauer, H.:  Atmospheric processes affecting methane on Mars , Europlanet Science Congress 2022, Granada, Spain, 18–23 Sep 2022, EPSC2022-885,, 2022.


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