The Orbital Forcing of Climate Changes on Mars
Solar variability influences the climate of a planet by radiatively forcing changes over a certain timescale; orbital variations of a planet, which yield similar solar forcing modulations, can be studied within the same scientific context. It is known for Earth that obliquity changes have played a critical role in pacing glacial and interglacial eras. For Mars, such orbital changes have been far greater and have generated extreme variations in insolation. Signatures associated with the presence of water ice reservoirs at various positions across the surface of Mars during periods of different orbital configurations have been identified. For this reason, it has been proposed that Mars is currently evolving between ice ages. The advent of climate tools has given a theoretical frame to the study of orbitally-induced climate changes on Mars. These models have provided an explanation to many puzzling observations, which when put together have permitted reconstruction of almost the entire history of Mars in the last 10 million years. This paper proposes to give an overview of the scientific work dedicated to this topic.
Keywordsplanetary sciences mars climate water cycle milankovitch cycle
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- Bibring, J. P., Langevin, Y., Poulet, F., Gendrin, A., Gondet, B., Berthé M., Soufflot A., Drossart, P., Combes, M., Bellucci, G., Moroz, V., Mangold, N., Schmitt, B., and the OMEGA team: 2004, ‘Perennial water ice identied in the south polar cap of Mars’, Nature 428, 627–630.CrossRefADSGoogle Scholar
- Feldman, W. C., et al.: 2004, ‘The global distribution of near-surface hydrogen on Mars’, J. Geophys. Res. 109, doi:10.1029/2003JE00216.Google Scholar
- Haberle, R. M., McKay C. P., Schaeffer, J., Joshi, M., Cabrol, N. A., and Grin, E. A.: 2000, ‘Meteorological control on the formation of Martian Paleolakes’, In Lunar and Planetary Institute Abstracts, 31st Annual Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, Houston, Texas, abstract no. 1509.Google Scholar
- Head, J. W., Neukum, G., Jaumann, R., Hiesinger, H., Hauber, E., Carr, M., Masson, P., Foing, B., Hoffmann, H., Kreslavsky, M., Werner, S., Milkovich, S., van Gasselt, S., and the HRSC team: 2005, ‘Tropical to mid-latitude snow and ice accumulation, flow and glaciation on Mars’, Nature 434, 346–351.CrossRefADSGoogle Scholar
- Hecht, M. H.: 2003, ‘What is the time scale for orbital forcing of the Martian water cycle?’, In International Conference on Mars Abstracts, Sixth International Conference on Mars, Pasadena, California, abstract no. 3285.Google Scholar
- Mellon, M. T., and Feldman, W. C.: 2005, ‘Martian Ground Ice and Equilibrium With Atmospheric Diffusion’, AGU Fall Meeting Abstract.Google Scholar
- Montmessin, F., Haberle, R. M., and Forget, F.: 2004, ‘Making water ice permanent at the South pole 25,000 years ago’, In Lunar Planet. Sci. Conference Abstracts, 35th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, League City, Texas, abstract no. 1312.Google Scholar
- Smith, M. D.: 2002, ‘The annual cycle of water vapor on Mars as observed by the thermal emission spectrometer’, J. Geophys. Res. 107, doi:10.1029/2001JE001522.Google Scholar
- Titus, T. N., and Kieffer, H. H.: 2003, ‘Temporal and spatial distribution of CO2 snow and ice’, International Conference on Mars Abstracts, Sixth International Conference on Mars, Pasadena, California, abstract no. 3273Google Scholar