Seasonal Variability of Deuterium in the Upper Atmosphere of Mars

Majd Mayyasi, J. Clarke, D. Bhattacharyya, J. Y. Chaufray, M. Benna, P. Mahaffy, S. Stone, R. Yelle, E. Thiemann, M. Chaffin, J. Deighan, S. Jain, N. Schneider, B. Jakosky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Measurements by multiple Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution mission instruments, obtained between November 2014 and November 2017, are analyzed to produce deuterium properties in the upper atmosphere of Mars. We show here, for the first time, the seasonal distribution and variability of D densities, temperatures, and estimated Jeans escape rates at the exobase (200 km). Within the data constraints, it is found that the variations in D properties are similar for the northern and southern hemispheres, and peak near southern summer solstice. Trends in the D Lyman-α brightness, temperature, density, and escape rate are increasing during the beginning of the dust storm season, peak near southern summer solstice, and decrease toward the end of the dust storm season. This suggests that seasonal drivers at Mars cause deuterium in the upper atmosphere to become globally enhanced when Mars is closest to the Sun and during the Martian dust season when water is provided to the upper atmosphere by subsurface, hydrological, and dust storm dynamics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2152-2164
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2019


  • Mars
  • deuterium
  • variability
  • water

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Geophysics


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