DPS Meeting, Madison, October 1998
Session 11P. Mars Atmosphere I, II, III, IV
Contributed Poster Session, Monday, October 12, 1998, 4:10-5:30pm, Hall of Ideas

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[11P.14] Chaotic Oscillations of the Martian Atmospheric Circulation.

A. A. Pankine, A. P. Ingersoll (Caltech)

We present a simplified model of the global circulation-dust interaction aimed at explaining the interannual variability of martian global dust storms. The model is described by the system of the Lorenz equations (Lorenz, 1963) with an additional term that represents seasonal forcing.The results of the Mars GCM simulations (Pollack et al., 1990) are used to define the values of the model parameters. For some parameter values the model exhibits rapid oscillations in atmospheric circulation and dust loading during early summer in both hemispheres. The oscillations are non periodic and may represent the observed global dust storms. The solutions are consistent with the time of occurrence and the duration of the observed global dust storms, but contradict the occurrence of global storms only in the southern hemisphere. We suggest that physical processes not related to the global circulation are responsible for these discrepancies. These processes may include redistribution of the dust on the surface (Haberle, 1986) or water ice condensation on the dust particles (Clancy et al., 1996). The duration of the dust storms in our model is independent of the dust settling time, suggesting that the global circulation plays important role in the dust storm decay. We think that the results of our simulations may help in distinguishing between processes that are crucial for the Martian dust cycle and can provide guidance for the Mars GCM simulations.


Lorenz, E. N., 1963. Deterministic non periodic flow, J. Atmos. Sci., 20, 130-141.

Pollack, J. B., R. M. Haberle, J. Schaeffer, H. Lee, 1990. Simulation of the general circulation of the martian atmosphere. 1. Polar process. J. Geophys. Res., 95(B2), 1473- 1447.

Clancy, R. T., A. W. Grossman, M. J. Wolff, P. B. James, D. J. Rudy, Y. N. Billawala, B. J. Sandor, S. W. Lee, and D. O. Muhleman, 1996. Water vapor saturation at low altitudes around Mars aphelion: a key to Mars climate? Icarus, 122, 36 62.

Haberle, R. M., 1986. Interannual variability of global dust storms on Mars, Science, 234, 459-461.

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