Surface Dust Redistribution on Mars as Observed by the Mars Global SurveyorThe global redistribution of dust by the atmosphere is geologically and climatologically important. Dust deposition and removal at the surface represents ongoing sedimentary geology: a vestige of aeolian processes responsible for the concentration of vast dustsheets and potentially for ancient layered units at various locations on Mars. The varying amount of dust on the surface has also long been hypothesized as a factor in determining whether regional or global dust storms occur in a given year. Indeed, the atmosphere has a very short, sub-seasonal time-scale (or memory) and as such, any inter-annual variability in the climate system that is not simply ascribable to stochastic processes, must involve changing conditions on the surface. An excellent, multi-year dataset is provided by the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Thermal Emission Spectrometer (TES) and the Mars Orbiter Camera Wide Angle imager (MOC-WA). This dataset allows investigation into the degree to which surface dust deposits on Mars really change: over decadal time scales, over the course of the annual cycle, and as a result of global and regional dust storms. The MGS mapping orbit data set extends over almost 3 Martian years at the time of writing. These data sets include one global dust storm and smaller regional storms (one in the first TES mapping year and two in the third).
Szwast, M. A. (California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA, United States)
Richardson, M. I. (California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA, United States)
Vasavada, A. R. (Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA, United States)
September 7, 2013
January 1, 2005
Publication: Lunar and Planetary Science XXXVI, Part 18