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Cold Spots in the Martian Polar Regions: Evidence of Carbon Dioxide Depletion?

Weiss, Benjamin P. and Ingersoll, Andrew P. (2000) Cold Spots in the Martian Polar Regions: Evidence of Carbon Dioxide Depletion? Icarus, 144 (2). pp. 432-435. ISSN 0019-1035. doi:10.1006/icar.1999.6302.

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Regions of very low, rapidly varying brightness temperatures have been observed near the martian winter poles by several spacecraft. One possibility is that the CO_2 condensation temperature is lowered by depletion of CO_2 in the air at the surface. We estimate the rate at which this low-molecular-weight air would disperse into the high-molecular-weight air above and show that it is generally faster than the rate of supply. This dispersal could be prevented if there is a strong temperature inversion (warm air above colder air) near the surface. Without an inversion, the entire atmospheric column could become depleted. However, depleted columns take a long time to form, and they are inconsistent with the rapid fluctuations in the cold spot locations and temperatures. Because low-altitude temperature inversions cannot be ruled out by existing observations, CO_2 depletion is still a viable explanation for the martian cold spots.

Item Type:Article
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Ingersoll, Andrew P.0000-0002-2035-9198
Additional Information:© 2000 Academic Press. Received February 19, 1999; revised August 31, 1999. We gratefully acknowledge support from the Mars Global Surveyor Project and the Planetary Atmospheres Program of NASA.
Group:UNSPECIFIED, Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Subject Keywords:Mars, Surface; Mars, Climate; Atmospheres, Dynamics; Infrared Observations; Ices
Issue or Number:2
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20121212-143933864
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Official Citation:Benjamin P. Weiss, Andrew P. Ingersoll, Cold Spots in the Martian Polar Regions: Evidence of Carbon Dioxide Depletion?, Icarus, Volume 144, Issue 2, April 2000, Pages 432-435, ISSN 0019-1035, 10.1006/icar.1999.6302. (
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:35954
Deposited By: Ruth Sustaita
Deposited On:12 Dec 2012 22:52
Last Modified:09 Nov 2021 23:18

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