Climate Dynamics of Atmospheric Collapse on Mars

Due to the relatively high condensation temperature of carbon dioxide, the Martian atmosphere, which is 95% CO2, can completely condense onto the planetary surface under the right conditions. Most of my PhD thesis work focused on understanding how these conditions for global scale condensation of the atmosphere, often called atmospheric collapse, are a function of CO2 inventory, planetary obliquity, solar luminosity, and atmospheric heat transport. I have published this work in Icarus.

image-left Idealized studies of Martian atmospheric collapse using a GCM. I investigated how the inclusion of non-parametric, time varying heat transport affects the onset of atmospheric collapse. I found that the range of obliquities and total CO2 inventories for which the Martian atmosphere collapses is larger than predicted. We used Reynolds decomposition to study the meridional eneragy transport in a collapsing atmosphere on Mars. The condensational flow due to CO2 condensation plays an important role in controlling the onset and maintenance of atmospheric collapse.