Quantifying the atmospheric impact of local dust storms using a martian Global Circulation Model

El-Said, Adam; Lewis, Stephen R. and Patel, Manish R. (2020). Quantifying the atmospheric impact of local dust storms using a martian Global Circulation Model. Icarus, 336, article no. 113470.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.icarus.2019.113470


We investigate the modelled impact on the global atmosphere of local dust storm simulations on the martian atmosphere. The investigation utilises existing observations from Mars Global Surveyor’s Mars Orbiter Camera and the Thermal Emission Spectrometer instruments, and the UK version of the LMD Mars Global Circulation Model. A typical example investigated here is a local dust storm in the Terra Sirenum region centred at (40°S, 146.5°W), with lateral coverage of ∼2.1E+5 km2 and peak optical depth of 0.7. We find atmospheric cooling, initially mainly restricted to the planetary boundary layer, by up to 8 % (-14 K) during the night of the first sol with a consequential abrupt rise (+15 K) on the following sol, compared to the pre-storm diurnal range of 175–210 K at this location. Divergent wind currents, with a high-pressure centre, develop on the first day of the storm resulting in changes in both wind components up to three times their base values (±10 m∕s). Atmospheric densities above 15 km altitude exhibit a peak increase of +9 % from pre-storm values, while surface pressures show less change ±3 %. Dynamical changes triggered by a local dust storm are quantified and their importance are thus considered in the context of potential future Mars spacecraft missions.

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  • Item ORO ID
  • 68087
  • Item Type
  • Journal Item
  • ISSN
  • 0019-1035
  • Project Funding Details
  • Funded Project NameProject IDFunding Body
    Mars Modelling Information Tool for EngineeringNot SetESA (European Space Agency)
    Modelling and retrieval of martian dust, ice and ozone from ExoMars NOMAD dataST/P001262/1UKSA UK Space Agency
    Characterizing the Martian water cycle by assimilating ExoMars 2016 Trace Gas Orbiter dataST/R001405/1UKSA UK Space Agency
    Surface/atmosphere interactions from above and below.ST/S00145X/1UKSA UK Space Agency
  • Keywords
  • Mars; Climate; Dust storm; Atmospheres; Dynamics; Infrared observations; Satellites
  • Academic Unit or School
  • Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) > Physical Sciences
    Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)
  • Research Group
  • ?? space ??
  • Copyright Holders
  • © 2019 Elsevier Inc.
  • Depositing User
  • Stephen Lewis