Comparative planetology > Peter Read

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The atmosphere of Mars

Peter Read
University of Oxford, UK


Abstract: This talk will provide an overview of our understanding of the atmospheric circulation, meteorology and climate of Mars, based on the exploration and measurement of the Martian environment from ground-based, spacecraft and in situ platforms, and from numerical models. Many aspects of the Martian atmosphere and climate are similar in form and origin to those on the Earth, and emphasis will be placed on comparative aspects of both planets. Their mid-latitude meteorology in particular has many features in common between Mars and the Earth, although the Martian weather is significantly less chaotic than the Earth for reasons that are still imperfectly understood. Cyclic variations in the orbit and rotation of Mars have led to major changes in the state of the Martian climate on timescales of 10 Kyr - 2Myr, in ways that parallel the Milankovitch cycles on Earth. Dust and water play major roles in the Martian climate system, both today and in its past and likely future on geological timescales, and these will be explored in this talk. Finally, I will briefly discuss ongoing efforts to use simplified numerical models to capture the gross changes in circulation and climate between Earth, Mars and over a wide range of key parameters, with the eventual aim of putting Earth-like planets into a broader dynamical perspective.

Additional materials: PDF of slides

ExoClimes 2010, Exeter, Tuesday 7th Sep 2010