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Exploring Martian polar atmospheric circulation and surface interactions

October 12, 2004

The northern and southern seasonal polar caps of Mars are formed in the polar night, during their respective autumn and winter seasons, by the condensation of atmospheric CO2directly to the solid phase as ice, snow, and possibly frost. During spring and summer, the seasonal ice sublimes, returning CO2 to the atmosphere. The caps advance and recede in response to seasonal variations in solar insolation, extending as far as 40° from the poles, and have been noted by telescopic observers since the 17th century Roughly 25% of the atmosphere, which is 95% CO2 by volume, is cycled into and out of the seasonal caps. The CO2 cycle dominates atmospheric circulation on Mars, and must be thoroughly understood in order to answer fundamental questions about climate history and the global distribution of near‐surface water.

Publication Year 2004
Title Exploring Martian polar atmospheric circulation and surface interactions
DOI 10.1029/2004EO410005
Authors Thomas H. Prettyman, Timothy N. Titus
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Eos, Transactions, American Geophysical Union
Index ID 70202323
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Astrogeology Science Center