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Mars topographic clouds: MAVEN/IUVS observations and LMD MGCM predictions

Abstract : The Imaging Ultraviolet Spectrograph (IUVS) instrument on the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN) spacecraft takes mid-UV spectral images of the Martian atmosphere. From these apoapse disk images, information about clouds and aerosols can be retrieved and comprise the only MAVEN observations of topographic clouds and cloud morphologies. Measuring local time variability of large-scale recurring cloud features is made possible with MAVEN’s ~4.5-hour elliptical orbit, something not possible with sun-synchronous orbits. We have run the LMD MGCM (Mars global circulation model) at 1° x 1° resolution to simulate water ice cloud formation with inputs consistent with observing parameters and Mars seasons. Topographic clouds are observed to form daily during the late mornings of northern hemisphere spring and this phenomenon recurs until late summer (Ls = 160°), after which topographic clouds wane in thickness. By northern fall, most topographic clouds cease to form except over Arsia Mons and Pavonis Mons, where clouds can still be observed. Our data show moderate cloud formation over these regions as late as Ls = 220°, something difficult for the model to replicate. Previous studies have shown that models have trouble simulating equatorial cloud thickness in combination with a realistic amount of water vapor and not-too-thick polar water ice clouds, implying aspects of the water cycle are not fully understood. We present data/model comparisons as well as further refinements on parameter inputs based on IUVS observations.
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Submitted on : Thursday, December 28, 2017 - 6:10:41 PM
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Nicholas M. Schneider, Kyle Connour, François Forget, Justin Deighan, Sonal Jain, et al.. Mars topographic clouds: MAVEN/IUVS observations and LMD MGCM predictions. 49th Annual Division for Planetary Sciences Meeting, Oct 2017, Provo, United States. ⟨insu-01673176⟩



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