A three-dimensional atmospheric dispersion model for Mars

Viúdez-Moreiras, D. A three-dimensional atmospheric dispersion model for Mars. Prog Earth Planet Sci 8, 53 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1186/s40645-021-00445-4

Atmospheric local-to-regional dispersion models are widely used on Earth to predict and study the effects of chemical species emitted into the atmosphere and to contextualize sparse data acquired at particular locations and/or times. However, to date, no local-to-regional dispersion models for Mars have been developed; only mesoscale/microscale meteorological models have some dispersion and chemical capabilities, but they do not offer the versatility of a dedicated atmospheric dispersion model when studying the dispersion of chemical species in the atmosphere, as it is performed on Earth. Here, a new three-dimensional local-to-regional-scale Eulerian atmospheric dispersion model for Mars (DISVERMAR) that can simulate emissions to the Martian atmosphere from particular locations or regions including chemical loss and predefined deposition rates, is presented. The model can deal with topography and non-uniform grids. As a case study, the model is applied to the simulation of methane spikes as detected by NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory (MSL); this choice is made given the strong interest in and controversy regarding the detection and variability of this chemical species on Mars.

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