Influence of water ice clouds on Martian tropical atmospheric temperatures

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Abstract

[1] The Reanalysis derived from the UK Mars general circulation model assimilation of Thermal Emission Spectrometer temperature and dust opacity retrievals at present provides the best estimate of the evolving state of the Martian atmosphere over the course of the Mars Global Surveyor mapping mission. A Control simulation has also been carried out using the same evolving dust distribution as the Reanalysis, but without the temperature assimilation. Differences in zonal mean temperatures between these two simulations reflect possible biases in the representation of dynamical and radiative forcing in the assimilating model. We have identified a cold bias in the Control simulation of tropical temperature which develops in the northern hemisphere summer solstice season. We attribute this bias to the absence of radiatively active water ice clouds in the model and show that clouds likely play a prominent role in shaping the vertical thermal structure of the tropical atmosphere during this season.

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