A Modern-day Mars Climate In The Met Office Unified Model: Dry Simulations

By Keith Cowing
Press Release
February 8, 2023
Filed under , ,
A Modern-day Mars Climate In The Met Office Unified Model: Dry Simulations
Surface pressure (Pa) across four seasons within the Martian year. For each month, the time average is taken of all sols within that month. The RA dust scenario is shown on the left, the PCM output is in the centre and the differences between the RA and PCM outputs are on the right. Colour scales in the left-hand and centre plots are matched across all months and between models with contour intervals of 150 Pa. The colour scales in the difference plots are also matched across all months. Contours are not shown due to the sharp changes in pressure around craters creating steep differences within a small area. — astro-ph.EP

We present results from the Met Office Unified Model (UM), a world-leading climate and weather model, adapted to simulate a dry Martian climate.

We detail the adaptation of the basic parameterisations and analyse results from two simulations, one with radiatively active mineral dust and one with radiatively inactive dust. These simulations demonstrate how the radiative effects of dust act to accelerate the winds and create a mid-altitude isothermal layer during the dusty season.

We validate our model through comparison with an established Mars model, the Laboratoire de Météorologie Dynamique planetary climate model (PCM), finding good agreement in the seasonal wind and temperature profiles but with discrepancies in the predicted dust mass mixing ratio and conditions at the poles.

This study validates the use of the UM for a Martian atmosphere, highlighting how the adaptation of an Earth general circulation model (GCM) can be beneficial for existing Mars GCMs and provides insight into the next steps in our development of a new Mars climate model.

Danny McCulloch, Denis E. Sergeev, Nathan Mayne, Matthew Bate, James Manners, Ian Boutle, Benjamin Drummond, Kristzian Kohary

Comments: 20 pages, 12 figures with additional appendix figures
Subjects: Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP); Atmospheric and Oceanic Physics (
Report number: 16, 621–657
Cite as: arXiv:2302.00359 [astro-ph.EP] (or arXiv:2302.00359v1 [astro-ph.EP] for this version)
Journal reference: JOURNAL = Geoscientific Model Development, VOLUME = 16, YEAR = 2023, NUMBER = 2, PAGES = 621–657
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Submission history
From: Daniel McCulloch
[v1] Wed, 1 Feb 2023 10:38:10 UTC (35,543 KB)

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) 🖖🏻