New model for the 5-20 cm wavelength opacity of ammonia pressure-broadened by methane under jovian conditions based on laboratory measurements
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In order to fully understand the role methane (CH₄) plays in the microwave emission spectra of the deep atmospheres of the outer planets, over 280 laboratory measurements of the opacity of ammonia in a methane environment have been made in the 5-20 cm wavelength range. All opacity measurements were made with either 100 or 200 mbars of ammonia and with 1 to 3 bars of added methane in the 330-450K temperature range. A formalism for the absorptivity of ammonia broadened by methane has now been developed and had been applied to the Hanley et al. (Icarus, v. 202, 2009) model for the opacity of ammonia. Due to methane's relatively low abundance at Jupiter (~0.2% by volume), its effect on the microwave spectrum which will be observed by the Juno MWR (Microwave Radiometer) will be minimal. However, these experimental results will significantly improve the understanding of the microwave emission spectrum of Uranus and Neptune where methane plays a more dominant role.