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T. I. Michaels, S. C. R. Rafkin (San Jose State University)
Little detail is known about clouds in the Martian atmosphere. Earth-based amateur and professional telescopy, the Hubble Space Telescope, and various instruments aboard Mariner 9, the Viking Orbiters, Mars Global Surveyor, and Mars Odyssey have contributed to our observational knowledge of when and where clouds form on Mars. However, such data can provide information about 3D cloud structure and formation mechanisms only when paired with additional information. In the case of Earth clouds, the analogous complementary information has been largely provided by aircraft measurements and numerical atmospheric models. In the Mars case, aircraft data is obviously nonexistent, and so 3D numerical models of the atmosphere must be used to provide further insight. The Mars cloud microphysical model of Colaprete and Toon (2000) has recently been incorporated into the Mars Regional Atmospheric Modeling System (MRAMS). Results from preliminary MRAMS simulations of near-equatorial water ice clouds are presented. Special attention is given to the macro- and micro-scale structure and causation of the simulated clouds.
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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 34, #3< br> © 2002. The American Astronomical Soceity.