• cooling and heating;
  • general circulation modeling;
  • gravity waves

[1] For the first time, gravity wave-induced heating and cooling effects were fully and interactively incorporated into a Martian general circulation model (GCM). Simulations with a comprehensive GCM with an implemented spectral nonlinear gravity wave (GW) parameterization revealed significant thermal effects of GWs in the mesosphere and lower thermosphere (MLT) between 100 and 150 km. Wave-induced heating and cooling rates are comparable with those due to near-IR CO2 heating and IR CO2cooling, correspondingly. Accounting for thermal effects of GWs results in a colder simulated MLT, with the most of cooling taking place in middle- and high-latitudes. In the winter hemisphere, the temperature decrease can exceed 45 K. The colder simulated MLT is in a good agreement with the SPICAM stellar occultation measurements and Mars Odyssey aerobraking temperature retrievals. Our experiments suggest that thermal effects of GWs are probably a key physical mechanism in the MLT missing in contemporary Martian GCMs.