Science Seminars

6/18/2015 – The Martian Atmosphere Through Thick and Thin

Speaker: Alejandro Soto (SwRI)
Date: Thursday, Jun 18, 2020
Time: 4:00 PM
Location: SPSC W120

Seminar Abstract:

Global energy balance models of the Martian atmosphere have predicted that throughout Martian history, for a range of initial total carbon dioxide inventories, the Martian atmosphere may be unstable relative to surface condensation. This is commonly referred to as atmospheric collapse. Since a collapsed state may limit the amount of time available for physical and chemical weathering, understanding the conditions for collapse is a critical step to understanding the possible history of the Martian atmosphere. Using a general circulation model (GCM), I investigated the details of the three-dimensional, time varying climate dynamics at the threshold for atmospheric collapse. In this talk, I will explore how meridional heat transport and topography interact to create the conditions of collapse from the Noachian era Mars to the current era Mars. I will discuss how the atmospheric collapse process provides limits to any potential warm wet Mars. As well,  I will discuss how collapse may have played a role in the capture of the subsurface carbon dioxide ice captured in the south pole of Mars.