I currently research the atmosphere of Mars with advisors Dr. Istvan Szunyogh and Dr. Mark Lemmon.
I am investigating local energetics of the Martian northern hemisphere using the eddy kinetic energy equation (See Orlanski, 1991).
I work primarily with the MACDA reanalysis dataset, which spans three Mars Years (MY) 24-27 (1999-2004).
Transient Waves During the MY 25 Global Dust Storm
A serendipitous feature of the MACDA dataset is that it contains a year (MY 25) that has a global dust storm.
The dust lifted during these events dramatically changes the dynamics of the atmosphere.
The dust warms the midlevels and cools the surface, which changes the vertical stability profile.
Baroclinic instability (middle panel of Fig. 1) is reduced (the red line is not as large in magnitude) so that synoptic-scale systems gain a barotropic component (Fig. 1 bottom).
Also, eddies maintain the same absolute strength but decrease in number (see in the top panel of Fig. 1 that the peaks of each of the three lines are about the same height, but the red line [MY 25] has about half the number).
Fig. 1: Volume integrated Eddy Kinetic Energy (top), Baroclinic Energy Conversion (middle), and Barotropic Energy conversion (bottom) for MY 24 (blue), MY 25 (green), and MY 26 (blue). credit: Icarus 276 1-20
For more, see Energetics of the martian atmosphere using the Mars Analysis Correction Data Assimilation (MACDA) dataset.
Storm Tracks in the Southern Hemisphere of Mars
Because waves in the southern hemisphere are weaker due to topography and because there are no in situ observations of the southern hemisphere midlatidues (Curiosity is just barely in the Southern Hemisphere.), southern hemisphere waves are not nearly as studied as their northern counterparts.
My most recent project aims to change that by using the MACDA to carefully investigate the behavior of waves in the southern hemisphere.
The figure below demonstrates some of that behavior.
While northern hemisphere waves frequently circumnavigate the planet, southern hemisphere waves are focused into two areas.
On area is concentrated in the Hellas Basin around 60 E, and the second is just south of the Tharsis Plateau between 180 and 300 N (Fig. 2, top).
These waves are baroclinic in nature, evidenced by the collocation of baroclinic energy conversion (Fig. 2 middle) with the eddy kinetic energy (Fig. 2 top).
The waves seem to lose energy barotropically (Fig. 2 bottom) just as northern hemisphere waves do.
For more, see Wave energetics of the southern hemisphere of Mars.
Fig. 2: Pressure-averaged Eddy Kinetic Energy (top), Baroclinic Energy Conversion (middle), and Barotropic Energy conversion (bottom) averaged over southern hemisphere spring (MY 25, 26, 27) and autumn (MY 24, 25, 26). Topography is contoured (dashed below mean geoid).