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Space Science Reviews

, Volume 203, Issue 1–4, pp 89–142 | Cite as

Orbital Observations of Dust Lofted by Daytime Convective Turbulence

  • Lori FentonEmail author
  • Dennis Reiss
  • Mark Lemmon
  • Béatrice Marticorena
  • Stephen Lewis
  • Bruce Cantor
Article

Abstract

Over the past several decades, orbital observations of lofted dust have revealed the importance of mineral aerosols as a climate forcing mechanism on both Earth and Mars. Increasingly detailed and diverse data sets have provided an ever-improving understanding of dust sources, transport pathways, and sinks on both planets, but the role of dust in modulating atmospheric processes is complex and not always well understood. We present a review of orbital observations of entrained dust on Earth and Mars, particularly that produced by the dust-laden structures produced by daytime convective turbulence called “dust devils”. On Earth, dust devils are thought to contribute only a small fraction of the atmospheric dust budget; accordingly, there are not yet any published accounts of their occurrence from orbit. In contrast, dust devils on Mars are thought to account for several tens of percent of the planet’s atmospheric dust budget; the literature regarding martian dust devils is quite rich. Because terrestrial dust devils may temporarily contribute significantly to local dust loading and lowered air quality, we suggest that martian dust devil studies may inform future studies of convectively-lofted dust on Earth.

As on Earth, martian dust devils form most commonly when the insolation reaches its daily and seasonal peak and where a source of loose dust is plentiful. However this pattern is modulated by variations in weather, albedo, or topography, which produce turbulence that can either enhance or suppress dust devil formation. For reasons not well understood, when measured from orbit, martian dust devil characteristics (dimensions, and translational and rotational speeds) are often much larger than those measured from the ground on both Earth and Mars. Studies connecting orbital observations to those from the surface are needed to bridge this gap in understanding. Martian dust devils have been used to remotely probe conditions in the PBL (e.g., CBL depth, wind velocity); the same could be done in remote locations on Earth. Finally, martian dust devils appear to play a major role in the dust cycle, waxing and waning in relative importance and spatial patterns of occurrence with the planet’s orbital state. Orbital studies of terrestrial dust devils would provide a basis for comparative planetology that would broaden the understanding of these dusty vortices on both planets.

Keywords

Atmospheric dust Dust devil Mars Dust storm Boundary layer 

Abbreviations

ADEOS

Advanced Earth Observing Satellite

AOT

aerosol optical thickness

ASTER

Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission Spectrometer

AVHRR

Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer

CALIOP

Cloud-Aerosol Lidar with Orthogonal Polarization

CALIPSO

Cloud-Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observations

CBL

convective boundary layer

CTX

Context Camera

DD

dust devil

DOD

dust optical depth

DOT

dust optical thickness

EPF

emission phase function

EY

Earth year

FOV

field of view

GCM

global circulation model

GLAS

Geoscience Laser Altimeter System

GLI

Global Imager

GOCART

Goddard Chemistry Aerosol Radiation and Transport

HiRISE

High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment

HRSC

High Resolution Stereo Camera

ICESat

Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite

IR

infrared

IRIS

Infrared Interferometric Spectrometer

IRTM

Infrared Thermal Mapper

LITE

Lidar In-Space Technology Experiment

LW

long wave

MARCI

Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Mars Color Imager

MCS

Mars Climate Sounder

MEX

Mars Express

MGS

Mars Global Surveyor

MOC NA

Mars Orbiter Camera Narrow Angle

MOC WA

Mars Orbiter Camera Wide Angle

MODIS

Moderate-resolution Imaging Spectro-radiometer

MOLA

Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter

MRO

Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter

MSG

Meteosat Second Generation

MSL

Mars Science Laboratory Multi-angle Imaging Spectro-Radiometer

MY

Mars Year

MVIRI

Meteosat Visible Infra-Red Imager

NOAA

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

ODY

Mars Odyssey

PBL

planetary boundary layer

POLDER

Polarization and Directionality of the Earth’s Reflectances

PSD

particle size distribution

SeaWiFS

Sea-viewing Wide Field of view Sensor

SRC

Super-resolution Camera

SEVIRI

Spinning Enhanced Visible Infra-Red Imager

SPICAM

Spectroscopy for Investigation of Characteristics of the Atmosphere of Mars

SW

short wave

TES

Thermal Emission Spectrometer

THEMIS IR

Thermal Emission Imaging System, Infrared camera

THEMIS VIS

THEMIS Visible camera

TIROS

Television and Infra-Red Observation Satellite

UV

ultraviolet

VCS-MA

Vidicon Camera System—Medium Angle

VIS: TOMS

Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer Visual Imaging Subsystems

VL1

Viking Lander 1

VL2

Viking Lander 2

VO1

Viking Orbiter 1

VO2

Viking Orbiter 2

Notes

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank two anonymous reviewers and an editor for many suggestions that greatly improved the manuscript.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lori Fenton
    • 1
    Email author
  • Dennis Reiss
    • 2
  • Mark Lemmon
    • 3
  • Béatrice Marticorena
    • 4
  • Stephen Lewis
    • 5
  • Bruce Cantor
    • 6
  1. 1.SETI InstituteMountain ViewUSA
  2. 2.Institut für PlanetologieWWU MünsterMünsterGermany
  3. 3.Texas A&M UniversityCollege StationUSA
  4. 4.Laboratoire Interuniversitaire des Systèmes Atmosphériques (LISA)CréteilFrance
  5. 5.The Open UniversityMilton KeynesUK
  6. 6.Malin Space Science SystemsSan DiegoUSA

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