Baroclinic eddies in the Martian atmosphere : a general circulation model study Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/cf95jf94m

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  • A variety of general circulation model experiments are performed to investigate the influence of seasonality and topography on the strength of baroclinic eddies in the Martian atmosphere. Three different models are used: a full physics model, a simplified physics model, and a zonally symmetric simplified physics model. All three models are sigma coordinate, finite difference global atmospheric circulation models that have been adapted to the Martian regime. The full physics model has previously been tested extensively by researchers at the NASA Ames Research Center. The simplified physics model replaces many of the atmospheric physics routines with simple parameterizations; most importantly, the radiation code is replaced by Newtonian cooling. A Newtonian cooling code with a radiative time constant that varies in height and latitude produces superior results to one with a radiative time constant that is the same everywhere throughout the atmosphere. It is found that baroclinic eddy activity is extremely sensitive to the mean meridional temperature gradient in the simplified model. A power law fit gives an exponent of approximately six. The baroclinic eddy activity is also sensitive to the maximum growth rate in the Eady model of baroclinic activity. This is due to the close connection between the meridional temperature gradient and the maximum growth rate. Baroclinic adjustment theory, which predicts how baroclinic eddies will react to changes in the mean circulation, does not appear to be valid in the Martian regime, according to the simplified model. This finding may be related to the differences in the relative strengths of the baroclinic eddies and the mean circulation on Earth and Mars. The simplified model indicates that seasonality is more important than topography in creating stronger eddies in the northern hemisphere winter than in the southern hemisphere winter. However, the effects of topography in the simplified model may not be adequately matching the effects of topography in the full physics model, particularly in the southern hemisphere.
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