Status Report

Simulation of the 2018 Global Dust Storm on Mars Using the NASA Ames Mars GCM: A Multi-Tracer Approach

By SpaceRef Editor
August 8, 2019
Filed under , ,

Tanguy Bertrand, R. John Wilson, Melinda A. Kahre, Richard Urata, Alex Kling

(Submitted on 7 Aug 2019)

Global dust storms are the most thermodynamically significant dust events on Mars. They are produced from the combination of multiple local and regional lifting events and maintained by positive radiative-dynamic feedbacks. The most recent of these events, which began in June 2018, was monitored by several spacecraft in orbit and on the surface, but many questions remain regarding its onset, expansion and decay. We model the 2018 global dust storm with the NASA Ames Mars Global Climate Model to better understand the evolution of the storm and how the general circulation and finite surface dust reservoirs impact it. The global dust storm is characterized by the rapid eastward transport of dust in the equatorial regions and subsequent lifting. We highlight the rapid transfer of dust between western and eastern hemispheres reservoirs, which may play an important role in the storm development through the replenishment of surface dust. Both the Hadley cell circulation and the diurnal cycle of atmospheric heating increase in intensity with increasing dustiness. Large dust plumes are predicted during the mature stage of the storm, injecting dust up to 80 km. The water ice cloud condensation level migrates to higher altitudes, leading to the enrichment of water vapor in the upper atmosphere. In our simulations, the intensity of the Hadley cell is significantly stronger than that of non-dusty conditions. This feedback is strongly sensitive to the radiative properties of dust, which depends on the effective size of the lifted dust distribution.

Comments: 40 pages, 16 figures, submitted to JGR planets

Subjects: Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP); Atmospheric and Oceanic Physics (

Cite as: arXiv:1908.02453 [astro-ph.EP] (or arXiv:1908.02453v1 [astro-ph.EP] for this version)

Submission history

From: Tanguy Bertrand 

[v1] Wed, 7 Aug 2019 06:07:20 UTC (4,249 KB)

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