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An Extremely Elongated Cloud Over Arsia Mons Volcano on Mars: 2. Mesoscale Modeling

Abstract : In a previous work (Hernández-Bernal et al., 2021, https://doi.org/10.1029/2020je006517) we performed an observational analysis of the Arsia Mons Elongated Cloud (AMEC), which stands out due to its impressive size and shape, quick dynamics, and the fact that it happens during the Martian dusty season. Observations show that its morphology can be split in a head, on the western slope of the volcano of around 120 km in diameter; and a tail, that expands to the west reaching more than 1,000 km in length, making the AMEC the longest orographic cloud observed so far in the solar system. In this work we run the Laboratoire de Météorologie Dynamique Mesoscale Model to gain insight into the physics of the AMEC. We note that it is coincident in terms of local time and seasonality with the fastest winds on the summit of Arsia Mons. A downslope windstorm on the western slope is followed by a hydraulic-like jump triggering a strong vertical updraft that propagates upwards in the atmosphere, causing a drop in temperatures of down to 30 K at 40-50 km in altitude, spatially and temporarily coincident with the observed head of the AMEC. However the model does not reproduce the microphysics of this cloud: the optical depth is too low and the expansion of the tail does not happen in the model. The observed diurnal cycle is correctly captured by the model for the head of the cloud. This work raises new questions that will guide future observations of the AMEC.
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Submitted on : Thursday, November 10, 2022 - 2:40:22 PM
Last modification on : Saturday, November 12, 2022 - 3:15:01 AM

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J. Hernández-Bernal, A. Spiga, A. Sánchez-Lavega, T. del Río-Gaztelurrutia, F. Forget, et al.. An Extremely Elongated Cloud Over Arsia Mons Volcano on Mars: 2. Mesoscale Modeling. Journal of Geophysical Research. Planets, 2022, 127, ⟨10.1029/2022JE007352⟩. ⟨insu-03847081⟩

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