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Radiative transfer modelling of dust devils

Mason, Jonathon; Patel, Manish R. and Lewis, Stephen R. (2013). Radiative transfer modelling of dust devils. Icarus, 223(1) pp. 1–10.

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Dust devils are particle laden convective vortices that form at the base of convective plumes. They are typically observed in dry desert climates on Earth and have been observed to form frequently on Mars. Meteorological measurements have also indicated that martian surface spacecraft have experienced numerous dust devil transits. To date, the characterisation of dust devils through the interpretation of spectral measurements of sunlight taken during a transit has yet to be investigated. Such measurements would provide valuable information of the physical size, dust load and internal structure of dust devils. A Monte Carlo Radiative Transfer (MCRT) model was developed to simulate the attenuation of sunlight through a dust devil and to investigate the observed spectral variation during such an event. The predicted spectral signature resulting from a dust devil transit is highly dependent on the method of observation. The scattered light flux increases during the transit with the magnitude dependent on the dust concentration, making it sensitive to the internal dust distribution. This dependence is not observed for the total light flux which experiences a decrease and is strongly dependent on the total extinction through the vortex and insensitive to how the dust is distributed. The implication of this work is that separate in situ measurement of both the total and scattered flux is crucial for characterising dust devils and such measurements provide a powerful tool that could be exploited by future Mars missions.

Item Type: Journal Item
Copyright Holders: 2012 Elsevier Inc.
ISSN: 0019-1035
Project Funding Details:
Funded Project NameProject IDFunding Body
Not SetNot SetScience & Technology Facilities Council (STFC)
Extra Information: The journal article is currently in press
10/01/13 MJH - At time of verifying journal issue 'In Progress' bu article "final and fully citable"
Keywords: dust devil; Monte Carlo; dust; light scattering; Earth; Mars; Earth atmosphere; Mars - atmosphere; atmospheres - dynamics
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) > Physical Sciences
Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)
Research Group: Space
Item ID: 35781
Depositing User: Jon Mason
Date Deposited: 09 Jan 2013 10:27
Last Modified: 08 Dec 2018 03:28
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