Inside dust devils

Ringrose, T. J. (2005). Inside dust devils. Astronomy & Geophysics, 46(5) pp. 16–19.



Dust devils are a feature of the martian and terrestrial atmospheres, but opportunities to characterize martian examples are limited. It is therefore necessary to develop a simple method to study these phenomena. This work presents a technique that simulates convective vortices in the laboratory, providing data on the characteristics of both terrestrial and martian dust devils. This analysis shows that laboratory-produced vortices and naturally occurring events have similar internal dynamics. Several different types of vortex are discussed that can be produced using this laboratory method. These different types of vortices compare with naturally occurring dust devils on Earth and Mars. In addition, the most violent part of a dust devil - the core boundary - is examined, providing horizontal and vertical wind-speed cross-sections that illustrate the variations in wind speed as you pass through a dust devil.

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