Theoretical Estimates of the Average Surface Temperature on Mars

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  • 1 Geophysics Corporation of America, Bedford, Mass
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Abstract

Estimates of the average surface temperature on Mars are derived from radiative equilibrium considerations. A minimum possible surface temperature is estimated by computing the radiative equilibrium temperature that the Martian surface would have if the planet had no atmosphere. An estimate of the maximum possible value of the average surface temperature is obtained by computing the surface temperature that would result from a maximum greenhouse model. The computations indicate that the average surface temperature is in the range 219K to 233K. Comparisons of the theoretical computations with indications of surface temperature obtained from thermal emission observations are found to be in reasonable agreement.

Abstract

Estimates of the average surface temperature on Mars are derived from radiative equilibrium considerations. A minimum possible surface temperature is estimated by computing the radiative equilibrium temperature that the Martian surface would have if the planet had no atmosphere. An estimate of the maximum possible value of the average surface temperature is obtained by computing the surface temperature that would result from a maximum greenhouse model. The computations indicate that the average surface temperature is in the range 219K to 233K. Comparisons of the theoretical computations with indications of surface temperature obtained from thermal emission observations are found to be in reasonable agreement.

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