Space Science Reviews

, Volume 203, Issue 1–4, pp 39–87 | Cite as

Field Measurements of Terrestrial and Martian Dust Devils

  • Jim MurphyEmail author
  • Kathryn Steakley
  • Matt Balme
  • Gregoire Deprez
  • Francesca Esposito
  • Henrik Kahanpää
  • Mark Lemmon
  • Ralph Lorenz
  • Naomi Murdoch
  • Lynn Neakrase
  • Manish Patel
  • Patrick Whelley


Surface-based measurements of terrestrial and martian dust devils/convective vortices provided from mobile and stationary platforms are discussed. Imaging of terrestrial dust devils has quantified their rotational and vertical wind speeds, translation speeds, dimensions, dust load, and frequency of occurrence. Imaging of martian dust devils has provided translation speeds and constraints on dimensions, but only limited constraints on vertical motion within a vortex. The longer mission durations on Mars afforded by long operating robotic landers and rovers have provided statistical quantification of vortex occurrence (time-of-sol, and recently seasonal) that has until recently not been a primary outcome of more temporally limited terrestrial dust devil measurement campaigns. Terrestrial measurement campaigns have included a more extensive range of measured vortex parameters (pressure, wind, morphology, etc.) than have martian opportunities, with electric field and direct measure of dust abundance not yet obtained on Mars. No martian robotic mission has yet provided contemporaneous high frequency wind and pressure measurements. Comparison of measured terrestrial and martian dust devil characteristics suggests that martian dust devils are larger and possess faster maximum rotational wind speeds, that the absolute magnitude of the pressure deficit within a terrestrial dust devil is an order of magnitude greater than a martian dust devil, and that the time-of-day variation in vortex frequency is similar. Recent terrestrial investigations have demonstrated the presence of diagnostic dust devil signals within seismic and infrasound measurements; an upcoming Mars robotic mission will obtain similar measurement types.


Dust devils 



All authors thank the International Space Science Institute for organizing and hosting the February 2015 Bern, Switzerland Workshop and for providing lodging accommodations. J. Murphy thanks the New Mexico State University College of Arts & Sciences Faculty Travel Award program for travel support. K. Steakley thanks the New Mexico State University (NMSU) Aggies Go Global organization, NMSU Graduate School, Associated Students of NMSU, New Mexico Space Grant Consortium, and NMSU Astronomy Department for funding support. M. Balme acknowledges funding from the UK Space Agency (grant ST/L00643X/1) and from STFC, the UK Science and Technology Facilities Council (grant ST/L000776/1). R. Lorenz acknowledges the support of NASA Mars Fundamental Research Program Grant NNX12AI04G. N. Murdoch was supported by a CNES-provided Post-doctoral award. M. Patel acknowledges support from the UK STFC and UK Space Agency under grants ST/I003061/1 and ST/P001262/1 and as part of the project UPWARDS-633127, funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Programme (H2020-Compet-08-2014). P. Whelley was supported by the NASA Post Doctoral Program and NASA’s Remote, In Situ, and Synchrotron Studies for Science and Exploration project.

The authors thank two anonymous reviewers for their thorough evaluations which have resulted in an improved final paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jim Murphy
    • 1
    Email author
  • Kathryn Steakley
    • 1
  • Matt Balme
    • 2
  • Gregoire Deprez
    • 3
  • Francesca Esposito
    • 4
  • Henrik Kahanpää
    • 10
    • 5
  • Mark Lemmon
    • 6
  • Ralph Lorenz
    • 7
  • Naomi Murdoch
    • 8
  • Lynn Neakrase
    • 1
  • Manish Patel
    • 2
  • Patrick Whelley
    • 9
  1. 1.New Mexico State UniversityLas CrucesUSA
  2. 2.Open UniversityMilton KeynesUK
  3. 3.Laboratoire AtmosphèresGuyancourtFrance
  4. 4.INAFOsservatorio Astronomico di CapodimonteNaplesItaly
  5. 5.Finnish Meteorological InstituteHelsinkiFinland
  6. 6.Texas A&M UniversityCollege StationUSA
  7. 7.Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics LabLaurelUSA
  8. 8.ISAE-SUPAEROToulouse UniversityToulouseFrance
  9. 9.NASA Goddard Space Flight CenterGreenbeltUSA
  10. 10.Aalto University/School of Electrical EngineeringEspooFinland

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