Institute of Astrophysics and Space Sciences (IA), Portugal | 2020 Mar 17
Understanding a type of air waves in the Mars’ atmosphere improves the meteorology for the red planet, according to a study led by the Instituto de Astrofísica e Ciências do Espaço (IA).
- This image of a dust storm on Mars was taken in 2007 by Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, of NASA. Water ice clouds are visible near the polar region, with grooves produced by pressure or temperature oscillations that are features of gravity waves. These waves were most likely caused by wind blowing over a crater ridge. Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS
Mars has a very thin atmosphere, with nearly one hundredth the density of ours on Earth, and gravity pulls with little more than one third of the strength we feel on our planet. As a result, dust storms can go global. For future missions to Mars, it is important to understand the planet's airy envelope and to forecast its moods.
A new study, led by Gabriella Gilli, ... may improve the way we describe and forecast the Martian weather. This study suggests that waves moving upwards across Mars' thin air, and caused by air perturbations, can have a strong impact on the atmosphere as a whole. Understanding this process may explain some of the differences between what space missions have observed on the red planet and the computer simulations scientists are using to figure out how its atmosphere works.
Atmospheric gravity waves are small fluctuations in air density and temperature propagating through the atmosphere. They can be produced by a number of processes, like warm and cool air interactions, or the flow of air over mountains, all of them perturbing the stable layering of the atmosphere. As these waves transport and release energy, they cause winds either to speed up, or to slow down to gentle breezes. Thus, they are known to have a role in the global atmospheric circulation on Earth, as well as on Mars and Venus. ...
Impact of Gravity Waves on the Middle Atmosphere of Mars: A Non‐Orographic Gravity Wave
Parameterization Based on Global Climate Modeling and MCS Observations ~ Gabriella Gilli et al