The Geological and Climatological Case for a Warmer and Wetter Early Mars

By Keith Cowing
Press Release
October 4, 2018
Filed under
The Geological and Climatological Case for a Warmer and Wetter Early Mars
Early Mars

The climate of early Mars remains a topic of intense debate. Ancient terrains preserve landscapes consistent with stream channels, lake basins, and possibly even oceans, and thus the presence of liquid water flowing on the Martian surface 4 billion years ago.

However, despite the geological evidence, determining how long climatic conditions supporting liquid water lasted remains uncertain. Climate models have struggled to generate sufficiently warm surface conditions given the faint young Sun – even assuming a denser early atmosphere. A warm climate could have potentially been sustained by supplementing atmospheric CO2 and H2O warming with either secondary greenhouse gases or clouds. Alternatively, the Martian climate could have been predominantly cold and icy, with transient warming episodes triggered by meteoritic impacts, volcanic eruptions, methane bursts, or limit cycles. Here, we argue that a warm and semi-arid climate capable of producing rain is most consistent with the geological and climatological evidence.

Ramses M. Ramirez, Robert A. Craddock
(Submitted on 3 Oct 2018)

Comments: 26 pages, 4 figures, 2 boxes (published in Nature Geoscience)
Subjects: Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP)
Journal reference: Ramirez, R.M. and Craddock, R.A. 2018. The geological and climatological case for a warmer and wetter early Mars. Nature Geoscience 11, 230 – 237
DOI: 10.1038/s41561-018-0093-9
Cite as: arXiv:1810.01974 [astro-ph.EP] (or arXiv:1810.01974v1 [astro-ph.EP] for this version)
Submission history
From: Ramses Ramirez
[v1] Wed, 3 Oct 2018 21:02:35 GMT (518kb)

Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA Space Station Payload manager/space biologist, Away Teams, Journalist, Lapsed climber, Synaesthete, Na’Vi-Jedi-Freman-Buddhist-mix, ASL, Devon Island and Everest Base Camp veteran, (he/him) 🖖🏻