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Title: Martian dust lifting, transport and associated processes
Author: Mulholland, David Paul
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2012
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The dust lifting capacity of the UK Mars General Circulation Model has been extended through the development of a new wind stress lifting parameterisation, and the simulation of a finite, variable surface dust layer. This second addition, which was represented by the use of lifting thresholds that were adjusted at each surface gridpoint in response to the removal or deposition of dust, led to enhanced variability in the timing and peak magnitude of major dust storms produced in the model. These dust storms were realistic in many respects, and the observed global dust storm frequency of occurrence of roughly one in every three years was approximately reproduced by the model, but an artificial threshold decrease rate was required to maintain dust lifting on a multiannual timescale - this was believed to be due to inaccuracies in the net cross-equatorial dust flux, which showed a strong bias towards the northern hemisphere. Significant changes were seen in model dust lifting rates when the influence of a heterogeneous surface roughness length was included in the wind stress scheme, and the need for more sophisticated sub-gridscale methods in future dust lifting schemes, to cope with this and other effects, was noted. The inclusion of radiatively active water clouds in model runs also affected dust lifting rates, particularly in the vicinity of the polar caps in autumn, winter and spring. The dynamics behind the formation of small, cap-edge dust storms during these periods were examined in detail, and it was found that a cessation in dust lifting activity that occurs around winter solstice does so due to a combination of the radiative effects of global dust loading and polar hood ice clouds, and zonal variations in midlatitude topography. The direct interaction between dust and ice, in the form of nucleation and scavenging, was investigated. It was found that scavenging by water ice, if it is suitably efficient, could significantly reduce the dust content of the winter polar regions. However, the dust and ice vertical profiles measured in the aphelion cloud belt by Mars Climate Sounder were not reproduced by the model with any of the possible scavenging efficiencies used. It appears that scavenging cannot provide an explanation for the existence of sharply defined, elevated dust layers at low latitudes.
Supervisor: Read, Peter L. ; Lewis, Stephen R. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Atmospheric,Oceanic,and Planetary physics ; Mars ; Atmospheric physics ; Fluid dynamics