The Effects of Thermal Tides and Dust on Traveling Waves in the Martian Atmosphere

Friday, 19 December 2014
Huiqun Wang, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, Cambridge, MA, United States, Anthony D Toigo, Applied Physics Laboratory Johns Hopkins, Laurel, MD, United States and Mark Ian Richardson, Ashima Research, Pasadena, CA, United States
Observations show that traveling waves with zonal wavenumber k = 3 correlate closely with the development of frontal / flushing dust storms which are important in the Martian dust cycle. Previous modeling work suggests that both the polar hood [Barnes et al., 2014] and the cap edge dust storms [Wang et al., 2013] have the potential to enhance these waves. In this presentation, we investigate the case of cap edge dust further, focusing on the following results.

We will show that the relative strength of the traveling waves depends not only on the time, geolocation, height and variable under consideration, but also on the analysis method. For near surface temperature which is observable by spacecraft, the spectral and time averaged wave power can lead to a different answer than the monochromatic wave power. In particular, in the presence of cap edge dust, the modeled zonal wavenumber k = 3 can dominate the traveling wave spectra at times.

In the presence of cap edge dust in the model, the enhancement of the k = 3 traveling waves is accompanied by pronounced increase of the diurnal tide. To test the effect of thermal tides on traveling waves, we have performed sensitivity runs where the insolation is replaced by the diurnally averaged value. We find that the amplitude of the k = 3 traveling waves are greatly reduced without thermal tides. Detailed analyses of the relationship between the waves will be presented.