Atmospheric Polar Warming at Mars


Tuesday, July 16 2013 - 12:00 pm, PDT
Tamara McDunn
Jet Propulsion Laboratory



This talk will cover two active areas of research in the field of martian atmospheric dynamics. The first is polar warming, a temperature enhancement over mid-to-high latitudes that results in a reversed (poleward) meridional temperature gradient.

Dr. McDunn will show observations of polar warming over the ~30-90 km altitude range from the Mars Climate Sounder (MCS) instrument aboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.  She will also present results of ongoing efforts to understand the drivers of this phenomenon (including topography, dust loading, and gravity wave breaking) using the Mars Weather Research and Forecasting global circulation model. The second topic of this talk will be semi-stationary waves masquerading as stationary waves. Stationary waves play a crucial role in the redistribution of heat from the equator to the high latitudes, significantly impact the atmosphere’s stability, and impart acceleration on the mean flow of the middle-to-upper atmosphere.

Using MCS observations, Dr. McDunn will show how the traditional technique used to identify stationary waves from orbital data limited to two local times does not discriminate against a type of wave that displays near-steady behavior on seasonal timescales yet undergoes significant variability on diurnal timescales (here referred to as “semi-stationary”).

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