Skip to main content
Article thumbnail
Location of Repository

Assessing atmospheric predictability on Mars using numerical weather prediction and data assimilation

By P. Rogberg, P. L. Read and S. R. Lewis


Introduction: Studies of the time series of surface measurements of wind, pressure and temperature at the two Viking landers by Barnes [1], [2] revealed that baroclinic transient travelling waves on Mars occur mostly during northern hemisphere autumn, winter and early spring, and typically take the form of highly coherent patterns with planetary wavenumbers 1-3 that can persist for intervals of up to 30-60 sols before changing erratically. Such behaviour is almost unknown on Earth, where individual baroclinic weather systems typically persist for no longer than 5-10 days and seldom remain coherent around entire latitude circles. This occurrence of planetary-scale coherent baroclinic wave-like weather systems on Mars led to suggestions [3] that Mars' atmospheric circulation operates in a quite different dynamical regime to that of the Earth, one that tends to favour regular, symmetrical baroclinic wave activity in a manner reminiscent of the regular wave regimes found in laboratory fluid dynamics experiments on sloping convection in a rotating, thermally-driven fluid annulus (e.g. [4], [5]). In its extreme form, this hypothetical comparison would suggest the possibility of a fully non-chaotic atmospheric circulation on Mars, though subsequent modelling work [6] indicated that perturbations due to the thermal tide would lead to chaotic transitions back and forth between different intransitive wave states. This form of (relatively low-dimensional) chaotic modeflipping appeared to be consistent with the Viking observations of Mars, suggesting nevertheless that the intrinsic predictability of Mars' mid-latitude meteorology was qualitatively and quantitatively quite different from that of the Earth

Year: 2008
OAI identifier:
Provided by: Open Research Online

Suggested articles

To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.