Friday, August 05, 2016

Orbital monitoring of martian surface changes

Orbital monitoring of martian surface changes


Geissler et al


A history of martian surface changes is documented by a sequence of global mosaics made up of Mars Global Surveyor Mars Orbiter Camera daily color images from 1999 to 2006, together with a single mosaic from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Mars Color Imager in 2009. These observations show that changes in the global albedo patterns of Mars take place by a combination of dust storms and strong winds. Many of the observed surface changes took place along the tracks of seasonally repeating winter dust storms cataloged by Wang and Richardson (2015). These storms tend to sweep dust towards the equator, progressively shifting albedo boundaries and continuing surface changes that began before the arrival of MGS. The largest and most conspicuous changes took place during the global dust storm of 2001 (MY 25), which blanketed Syrtis Major, stripped dust from the Tharsis region, and injected dust into Solis Planum. High wind speeds but low wind stresses are predicted in Syrtis, Tharsis and Solis by the NASA Ames GCM. Frequent changes in these regions show that dust accumulations are quickly removed by stronger winds that are not predicted by the GCM, but may result from smaller-scale influences such as unresolved topography.

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