Measurements of the atmospheric water vapor on Mars by the Imager for Mars Pathfinder

D. V. Titov, W. J. Markiewicz, N. Thomas, H. U. Keller, R. M. Sablotny, M. G. Tomasko, M. T. Lemmon, P. H. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


The Imager for Mars Pathfinder (IMP) was the first instrument to measure the atmospheric water on Mars from its surface. It took the images of the Sun through the Martian atmosphere in five narrowband filters, two in the 0.94 μm H2O band and three in the continuum around it. The observations were carried out in the mornings and in the evenings when the Sun was between 3° and 8° above the horizon. The absorption due to the atmospheric water vapor did not exceed 2%. An average column density of 6±4 precipitated microns (pr μm) was derived from the IMP data. The dependence of the observed H2O transmittance on Sun elevation tentatively implies that the water vapor is not uniformly mixed in the atmosphere but is rather confined to a layer 1-3 km thick near the surface. IMP observations also indicate a horizontal inhomogeneity of the layer but show no significant morning-to-evening variations of the water vapor amount.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1998JE900046
Pages (from-to)9019-9026
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Planets
Issue numberE4
StatePublished - Apr 25 1999
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Oceanography


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