MAIC-2, a latitudinal model for the Martian surface temperature, atmospheric water transport and surface glaciation



The Mars Atmosphere-Ice Coupler MAIC-2 is a simple, latitudinal model, which consists of a set of parameterisations for the surface temperature, the atmospheric water transport and the surface mass balance (condensation minus evaporation) of water ice. It is driven directly by the orbital parameters obliquity, eccentricity and solar longitude (Ls) of perihelion. Surface temperature is described by the Local Insolation Temperature (LIT) scheme, which uses a daily and latitude-dependent radiation balance. The evaporation rate of water is calculated by an expression for free convection, driven by density differences between water vapor and ambient air, the condensation rate follows from the assumption that any water vapour which exceeds the local saturation pressure condenses instantly, and atmospheric transport of water vapour is approximated by instantaneous mixing. Glacial flow of ice deposits is neglected. Simulations with constant orbital parameters show that low obliquities favour deposition of ice in high latitudes and vice versa. A transient scenario driven by a computed history of orbital parameters over the last 10 million years produces essentially monotonically growing polar ice deposits during the most recent 4 million years, and a very good agreement with the observed present-day polar layered deposits. The thick polar deposits sometimes continue in thin ice deposits which extend far into the mid latitudes, which confirms the idea of "ice ages" at high obliquity.

Planetary and Space Science 58 (6), 931-940 (2010).

Last modified: 2010-04-22