DPS 2001 meeting, November 2001
Session 34. Mars Atmosphere II: Clouds and Dust
Oral, Chairs: M. Wolff, A. Colaprete, Thursday, November 29, 2001, 4:40-6:10pm, Regency E

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[34.05] Simulation of the Convective Boundary Layer and Dust Devils on Mars

T. I. Michaels, S. C. R. Rafkin (San Jose State Univ.)

Dust devils have been repeatedly observed on Mars by the Viking Orbiters and Landers, the Mars Pathfinder, and the Mars Global Surveyor. Dust devils are low-pressure, warm-core vortices that occur underneath convective plumes and lift dust from the surface. On Earth, they are frequently observed in hot, arid regions and move with the ambient wind. On Mars, these vortices may play an important role in the maintenance of the atmospheric dust load. In order to further quantify the significance of such dust lifting, as well as to gain a detailed understanding of the life cycles of these phenomena, a large eddy simulation (LES) was performed using the Mars Regional Atmospheric Modeling System (MRAMS). In the LES, dust devil-like circulations were observed throughout the afternoon hours. The entire life cycle of one of the vortices was captured in detail using an additional nested grid. Simulated pressure perturbations and the dimensions of these circulations are in general agreement with orbiter and lander observations.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: michaels@met.sjsu.edu

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