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Martian water loss to space enhanced by regional dust storms

Michael S. Chaffin 1, * D. M. Kass 2 S. Aoki 3 A. A. Fedorova 4 J. Deighan 1 K. Connour 1 N. G. Heavens 5 A. Kleinböhl 2 S. K. Jain 1 Jean-yves Chaufray 6 M. Mayyasi 7 J. T. Clarke 7 A. I. F. Stewart 1 J. S. Evans 8 M. H. Stevens 9 W. E. Mcclintock 1 M. M. J. Crismani 10, 11 G. M. Holsclaw 1 Franck Lefèvre 6 D. y. Lo 12 Franck Montmessin 6 N. M. Schneider 1 B. Jakosky 1 G. Villanueva 10 G. Liuzzi 10 F. Daerden 13 I. R. Thomas 13 J.-J. Lopez-Moreno 14 M. R. Patel 15 G. Bellucci 16 B. Ristic 13 J. T. Erwin 13 A. C. Vandaele 13 A. Trokhimovskiy 4 O. Korablev 4 
Abstract : Mars has lost most of its initial water to space as atomic hydrogen and oxygen. Spacecraft measurements have determined that present-day hydrogen escape undergoes large variations with season that are inconsistent with long-standing explanations. The cause is incompletely understood, with likely contributions from seasonal changes in atmospheric circulation, dust activity and solar extreme ultraviolet input. Although some modelling and indirect observational evidence suggest that dust activity can explain the seasonal trend, no previous study has been able to unambiguously distinguish seasonal from dust-driven forcing. Here we present synoptic measurements of dust, temperature, ice, water and hydrogen on Mars during a regional dust event, demonstrating that individual dust events can boost planetary H loss by a factor of five to ten. This regional storm occurred in the declining phase of the known seasonal trend, establishing that dust forcing can override this trend to drive enhanced escape. Because similar regional storms occur in most Mars years, these storms may be responsible for a large fraction of Martian water loss and represent an important driver of Mars atmospheric evolution.
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Submitted on : Friday, October 29, 2021 - 4:13:21 PM
Last modification on : Sunday, June 26, 2022 - 3:17:56 AM
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Michael S. Chaffin, D. M. Kass, S. Aoki, A. A. Fedorova, J. Deighan, et al.. Martian water loss to space enhanced by regional dust storms. Nature Astronomy, Nature Publishing Group, 2021, 5, pp.1036-1042. ⟨10.1038/s41550-021-01425-w⟩. ⟨insu-03323464⟩



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