Published On: Fri, Mar 17th, 2017

Mars Global Surveyor Observes Textured Dust Storms

Textured Dust Storms Observed by Mars Global Surveyor

An picture from a Mars Gobal Surveyor arrangement a “pebbled”-type dirt storm.

Astronomers have identified 3 kinds of textured dirt storms on Mars, and found that these textured storms have elite seasons and locations.

Astronomers study Mars initial remarkable a participation of yellow clouds on a aspect in a 1870’s. Today these windblown dirt storms on Mars are good known, and can camber local, informal or even tellurian in scale. Storms can arrangement manifest structures, infrequently periodic with wavelike features, or in other cases streaky or plume-like. Storms with structures are called “textured dirt storms” and they outcome from clever winds or other meteorological effects that lift dirt into a Martian atmosphere. In further to obscuring views of a Martian surface, a dirt can impact windy heating and other climatic processes. These dirt storms, notwithstanding carrying been complicated for some-more than a century, sojourn rather mysterious. It is not understood, for example, how textured storms are distributed over a aspect of a planet, when their magnitude peaks, or how most dirt is indeed swept up.

CfA astronomer Huiqun Wang and dual colleagues have been regulating a Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) images to investigate textured dirt storms. Launched in 1999, MGS has supposing about 4 Mars-years of daily tellurian information that are quite suitable for study several aspects of clouds and dirt storms. The new research focuses on a dirt storms that occurred between May 1999 and Oct 2006, including a tellurian dirt charge in Jun 2001. There were 3955 textured dirt storms during these periods. The scientists manually symbol a position of any textured dirt charge in a MGS image, and specify a hardness into one of 3 new categories they have developed: pebbled textures, characterized by a granular or askew coming revealing of clever turbulence, pompous textures with a effervescent coming and cotton-like structures equivalent to cumulus clouds demonstrative of straight motions, and plume-like textures stoical of mixed together elongated facilities revealing of dirt being uplifted and carried downstream by clever winds.

The scientists find that these 3 hardness forms have elite seasons and particular locations; pompous storms, for example, tend to seem in a low latitudes and competence therefore outcome from straight convective winds there. Pebbled storms start some-more frequently in a southern mid-latitudes implying that these zones are some-more violent than a northern mid/high-latitudes. The new formula advise links between charge hardness form and meteorological conditions that can lead to softened bargain of a Martian climate.

Reference: “The Seasonal and Spatial Distribution of Textured Dust Storms Observed by Mars Global Surveyor Mars Orbiter Camera,” Laura Kulowski, Huiqun Wang, Anthony D. Toigo, Advances in Space Research 59 (2017) 715–721.

Source: Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

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