The dune effect on sand-transporting winds on Mars

D.W.T. Jackson, M.C. Bourke, T.A.G. Smyth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Wind on Mars is a significant agent of contemporary surface change, yet the absence of in situ meteorological data hampers the understanding of surface–atmospheric interactions. Airflow models at length scales relevant to landform size now enable examination of conditions that might activate even small-scale bedforms (ripples) under certain contemporary wind regimes. Ripples have the potential to be used as modern ‘wind vanes’ on Mars. Here we use 3D airflow modelling to demonstrate that local dune topography exerts a strong influence on wind speed and direction and that ripple movement likely reflects steered wind direction for certain dune ridge shapes. The poor correlation of dune orientation with effective sand-transporting winds suggests that large dunes may not be mobile under modelled wind scenarios. This work highlights the need to first model winds at high resolution before inferring regional wind patterns from ripple movement or dune orientations on the surface of Mars today.
LanguageEnglish
JournalNature Communications
Volume6:8796
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 5 Nov 2015

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dune
Mars
ripple
sand
wind direction
airflow
bedform
landform
wind velocity
effect
topography
modeling

Keywords

  • Aeolian dunes Mars CFD airflow modelling ripples

Cite this

Jackson, D.W.T. ; Bourke, M.C. ; Smyth, T.A.G. / The dune effect on sand-transporting winds on Mars. In: Nature Communications. 2015 ; Vol. 6:8796.
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The dune effect on sand-transporting winds on Mars. / Jackson, D.W.T.; Bourke, M.C.; Smyth, T.A.G.

In: Nature Communications, Vol. 6:8796, 05.11.2015.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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