36th DPS Meeting, 8-12 November 2004
Session 41 Mars Atmosphere II
Oral, Friday, November 12, 2004, 8:30-10:00am, Lewis

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[41.09] Comparison of Wind Directions Observed on Mars with those Predicted by the NASA Ames Mars General Circulation Model

S.E. Acevedo (SETI Institute), R.M. Haberle (NASA Ames), J. Schaeffer (QSSS Raytheon), S.E. Wood (Univ. Washington), S. McGhee (Foothill College)

The NASA Ames Mars General Circulation Model (GCM) simulates the dynamics of Mars' atmosphere including prevailing wind patterns. Studies of observed cloud formations, as visible indicators of wind patterns, can serve as a validation of martian wind patterns predicted by the model. Leewave cloud formations associated with craters observed in images of Mars taken by the Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC), were analyzed using ISIS (Integrated Software for Imagers and Spectrometers, USGS) to determine the direction of the prevailing winds responsible for forming those leewaves. The Mars GCM was then used to generate a predicted wind direction at each crater given its location (lat/lon), season of occurence, and assuming cloud altitudes of 115 kilometers at 13 pm local time. The wind directions calculated from ISIS data were compared to the theoretical values for wind direction generated by the GCM at corresponding locations and season. Good correlation was found between the wind directions predicted by the GCM and the wind directions calculated based on observed leewaves. In most cases, differences in wind directions between the model and observations are less than 30.

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 36 #4
© 2004. The American Astronomical Soceity.