Western boundary currents in the atmosphere of Mars

M.M. Joshi, S.R. Lewis, P.L. Read, D.C. Catling

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Abstract

Western boundary currents (WBCs) are an intensification of north-south flow adjacent to an eastward-facing meridional boundary. Although most familiar in the oceans (where the Gulf Stream is the best known example), WBCs also occur in the Earth's troposphere. The main example being the East African Jet, which is thought to play an important role in the Asiatic monsoon. Here we identify boundary currents in a different geophysical context: a numerical simulation of the atmosphere of Mars. In our simulation. WBCs exist in association with significant cross-equatorial flow and the presence of equatorial martian topography. Which has vertical scale far exceeding terrestrial relief. The intensity and width of these currents depend on model parameters, notably the surface drag. From a comparison of our results with other martian models we suggest that WBCs have already been simulated, although they were not previously identified as such. The available observational evidence appears to be consistent with the presence of martian WBCs, which may be important in the generation of global and great dust storms.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)548-552
Number of pages5
JournalNature
Volume367
Issue number6463
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 10 Feb 1994

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