Response of the intermediate complexity Mars Climate Simulator to different obliquity angles

J. SEGSCHNEIDER, B. GRIEGER, H. U. KELLER, F. LUNKEIT, E. KIRK, K. FRAEDRICH, A. RODIN and R. GREVE


Abstract

A climate model of intermediate complexity, named the Mars Climate Simulator, has been developed based on the Portable University Model of the Atmosphere (PUMA). The main goal of this new development is to simulate the climate variations on Mars resulting from the changes in orbital parameters and their impact on the layered polar terrains (also knows as permanent polar ice caps). As a first step towards transient simulations over several obliquity cycles, the model is applied to simulate the dynamical and thermodynamical response of the Martian climate system to different but fixed obliquity angles. The model is forced by the annual and daily cycle of solar insolation. Experiments have been performed for obliquities of phi=15 (minimum), phi=25.2 (present) and phi=35 (maximum). The resulting changes in solar insolation mainly in the polar regions impact strongly on the cross equatorial circulation which is driven by the meridional temperature gradient and steered by the Martian topography. At high obliquity, the cross equatorial near surface flow from the winter to the summer hemisphere is strongly enhanced compared to low obliquity periods. The summer ground temperature ranges from 200 K (phi=15) to 250 K (phi=35) at 80N in northern summer, and from 220 K (phi=15) to 270 K (phi=35) at 80S in southern summer. In the atmosphere at 1 km above ground, the respective range is 195 K to 225 K in northern summer, and 210 K to 250 K in southern summer.


Planetary and Space Science 53 (6), 659-670 (2005).

 
Last modified: 2008-09-05