The distribution of dust devil activity on Mars

TitleThe distribution of dust devil activity on Mars
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsWhelley PL, Greeley R
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research-Planets
Volume113
Date PublishedJul
ISBN Number0148-0227
Accession NumberWOS:000257433400001
Abstract

[1] Martian dust devil activity, inferred from their tracks, is mapped globally and compared to surface and atmospheric properties. Dust devils are estimated to lift 2.3 +/- 1 x 10(11) kg of dust each year, mostly from two narrow bands near 60 degrees N and 60 degrees S, during their respective spring and summer. Approximately 55% of the dust lifted by dust devils in the northern hemisphere is removed from within 45 and 75 degrees N, while 65% of that lifted in the south is from within 45 and 75 degrees S. The southern band is an order of magnitude more populated with tracks than in the north, likely a result of Mars' orbital eccentricity. The equator is the location of a lesser peak, while few dust devil tracks are found at the poles and middle latitudes. During the fall and winter in both hemispheres, few tracks are observed. Dust devil and track formation does not appear to be controlled significantly by elevation, topographic slope, dust cover, or surface physical properties. Dust devils annually lift approximately half as much material as local and regional dust storms and are therefore significant contributors of dust into the Martian atmosphere.