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ISSN  2096-3955

CN  10-1502/P

Citation: Li, J., Wu, Z. P., Li, T., Zhang, X. and Gui, J. (2020). The diurnal transport of atmospheric water vapor during major dust storms on Mars based on the Mars Climate Database, version 5.3. Earth Planet. Phys., 4(6), 550–564.

2020, 4(6): 550-564. doi: 10.26464/epp2020062


The diurnal transport of atmospheric water vapor during major dust storms on Mars based on the Mars Climate Database, version 5.3


Planetary Environmental and Astrobiological Research Laboratory, School of Atmospheric Sciences, Sun Yat-sen University, Zhuhai Guangdong 519082, China


Chinese Academy of Sciences Key Laboratory of Geospace Environment, School of Earth and Space Sciences, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei 230026, China


Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, University of California Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, California 95064, USA


Chinese Academy of Sciences Key Laboratory of Lunar and Deep Space Exploration, National Astronomical Observatories, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100012, China


Chinese Academy of Sciences Center for Excellence in Comparative Planetology, Hefei 230026, China

Corresponding author: ZhaoPeng Wu,

Received Date: 2020-06-19
Web Publishing Date: 2020-09-01

In recent studies of the Martian atmosphere, strong diurnal variation in the dust was discovered in the southern hemisphere during major dust storms, which provides strong evidence that the commonly recognized meridional transport process is driven by thermal tides. This process, when coupled with deep convection, could be an important part of the short-term atmospheric dynamics of water escape. However, the potential of this process to alter the horizontal distribution of moist air has not been systematically investigated. In this work, we conducted pre-research on the horizontal transport of water vapor associated with the migrating diurnal tide (DW1) at 50 Pa in the upper troposphere during major dust storms based on the Mars Climate Database (MCD) 5.3, a state-of-the-art database for Martian atmospheric research that has been validated as simulating the relevant short-period atmospheric dynamics well. We found westward-propagating diurnal patterns in the global water vapor front during nearly all the major dust storms from Martian years (MYs) 24 to 32. Statistical and correlation analyses showed that the diurnal transport of water vapor during global and A-season regional dust storms is dominated by the DW1. The effect of the tidal transport of water vapor varies with the types of dust storms in different seasons. During regional dust storms, the tidal transport induces only limited diurnal motion of the water vapor. However, the horizontal tidal wind tends to increase the abundance of daytime water vapor at mid- to low latitudes during the MY 28 southern summer global dust storm while decreasing it during the MY 25 southern spring global dust storm. The tidal transport process during these two global dust storms can induce opposite effects on water escape.

Key words: Martian atmosphere, thermal tides, water vapor, dust storms, water escape

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The diurnal transport of atmospheric water vapor during major dust storms on Mars based on the Mars Climate Database, version 5.3

Jing Li, ZhaoPeng Wu, Tao Li, Xi Zhang, Jun Cui