The Mars Climate Database

Bingham, S.J.; Lewis, S.R.; Read, P.L.; Forget, F.; Hourdin, F.; Talagrand, O.; Wanherdrick, Y.; Angelats i Coll, M.; Lopez-Valverde, M.; Lopez-Puertas, M. and Huot, J.-P. (2003). The Mars Climate Database. In: First International Workshop on Mars atmosphere modelling and observations, 13-15 Jan 2003, Granada, Spain.



The Mars Climate Database (MCD) [1] is a database of statistics describing the climate and environment of the Martian atmosphere. It was constructed directly on the basis of output from mulitannual integrations of two general circulation models (GCMs)developed by Laboratoire de Météorologie Dynamique du CNRS, France, the University of Oxford, UK, and Instituto de Astrofisica de Andalucia, Spain, with support from the European Space Agency (ESA) and Centre National d–Etudes Spatiales (CNES). A description of the MCD is given along with a comparison between spacecraft observations of Mars and results predicted at similar locations and times in the MCD.
The MCD can be used as a tool for mission planning and has been applied to prepare for several missions in Europe and the USA. It also provides information for mission design specialists on the mean state and variability of the Martian environment from the surface to above 120km. The GCMs on which the database is founded, include a set of physical parameterizations (radiative transfer in the visible and thermal infrared ranges, turbulent mixing, condensation-sublimation of CO2, thermal conduction in the soil and representation of gravity waves) and two different codes for the representation of large scale dynamics: a spectral code for the AOPP version and a grid-point code for the LMD version. The GCMs correctly reproduce the main meteorological features of Mars, as observed by the Mariner 9 and Viking orbiters, the Viking landers, and Mars Global Surveyor (MGS). As well as the standard statistical measures for mission design studies, the MCD includes a novel representation of large-scale variability, using empirical eigenfunctions derived from an analysis of the full simulations, and small-scale variability based on parameterizations of processes such as gravity wave propagation. The database allows the user to choose from 5 dust storm scenarios including a best guess, default scenario, deduced from recent MGS observations, an upper boundary for an atmosphere without dust storms, as observed by Viking the landers, and a clear, cold, lower boundary scenario, as observed by Phobos 2 and from Earth. The full version of the MCD is available on CDROM (for UNIX systems and PCs) and is also accessible through an interactive WWW interface at

Viewing alternatives

Download history

Item Actions