Starting in September 2018, a daily repeating extremely elongated cloud was observed extending from the Mars Arsia Mons volcano. We study this Arsia Mons Elongated Cloud (AMEC) using images from VMC, HRSC, and OMEGA on board Mars Express, IUVS on MAVEN, and MARCI on MRO. We study the daily cycle of this cloud, showing how the morphology and other parameters of the cloud evolved with local time. The cloud expands every morning from the western slope of the volcano, at a westward velocity of around 150m/s, and an altitude of around 30-40km over the local surface. Starting around 2.5 hours after sunrise (8.2 Local True Solar Time, LTST), the formation of the cloud resumes, and the existing cloud keeps moving westward, so it detaches from the volcano, until it evaporates in the following hours. At this time, the cloud has expanded to a length of around 1500km. Short time later, a new local cloud appears on the western slope of the volcano, starting around 9.5 LTST, and grows during the morning.This daily cycle repeated regularly for at least 90 sols in 2018, around Southern Solstice (Ls 240-300) in Martian Year (MY) 34. According with these and previous MEx/VMC observations, this elongated cloud is a seasonal phenomenon occurring around Southern Solstice every Martian Year. We study the interannual variability of this cloud, the influence of the Global Dust Storms in 2018 on the cloud's properties (Sánchez-Lavega et al., Geophys. Res. Lett. 46, 2019), and its validity as a proxy for the global state of the Martian atmosphere (Sánchez-Lavega et al., J. Geophys. Res., 123, 3020, 2018). We discuss the physical mechanisms behind the formation of this peculiar cloud in Mars.
EGU General Assembly Conference Abstracts
- Pub Date:
- May 2020