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Climate, atmosphere, and volatile inventory evolution: Polar processes, climate records, volatile inventoriesClimate change on Mars was driven by long term changes in the solar luminosity, variations in the partitioning of volatiles between the atmosphere and near-surface reservoirs, and astronomical variations in axial and orbital properties. There are important parallels between these drives for Mars and comparable ones for Earth. In the early history of the solar system, the Sun's luminosity was 25 to 30 percent lower than its current value. It is suggested that an early benign climate on Earth was due to the presence of much more carbon dioxide in its atmosphere at these early times than currently resides there. Such a partitioning of carbon dioxide, at the expense of the carbonate rock reservoir, may have resulted from a more vigorous tectonic and volcanic style at early times. Such a line of reasoning may imply that much more carbon dioxide was present in the Martian atmosphere during the planet's early history than resides there today. It is now widely recognized that astronomical variations of the Earth's axial and orbital characteristics have played a dominant role in causing the succession of glacial and interglacial periods characterizing the last several million years. The magnitude of the axial and eccentricity variations are much larger for Mars than for Earth. Such changes on Mars could result in sizeable variations in atmospheric pressure, dust storm activity, and the stability of perennial carbon dioxide and water ice polar caps. These quasi-periodic climate changes occur on periods of 100,000 to 1,000,000 years and may be recorded in the sedimentary layers of the polar layered terrain.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Pollack, J. B. (NASA Ames Research Center Moffett Field, CA, United States)
Date Acquired
September 5, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 1988
Publication Information
Publication: Lunar and Planetary Inst., Workshop on Mars Sample Return Science
Subject Category
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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IDRelationTitle19890008917Analytic PrimaryWorkshop on Mars Sample Return Science