Mesospheric CO2 clouds on Mars: observations and study with a General Circulation Model

Mesospheric CO2 clouds have been recently observed on Mars, providing important information about the temperatures and winds at the mesosphere, an atmospheric region characterized by the scarcity of observational records. These clouds only appear at particular geographical locations, altitudes above the surface, and times of the year, posing interesting questions about the processes that are at the origin of these clouds. We use a computational model to study the mesospheric temperatures and try to answer these questions, as an example of how the combined use of observations and models can drive to a deeper knowledge of nature. The areas of cold temperature predicted by the model coincide with the location of the clouds, but predicted temperatures are not low enough to allow for CO2 condensation, which implies that small-scale processes, such as gravity waves, play an important role in the creation of these clouds.


04/11/2010 - 13:00
Francisco González Galindo
Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía - CSIC