Mars Climatology from Viking 1 After 20 Sols

Science  01 Oct 1976:
Vol. 194, Issue 4260, pp. 78-81
DOI: 10.1126/science.194.4260.78


The results from the meteorology instruments on the Viking 1 lander are presented for the first 20 sols of operation. The daily patterns of temperature, wind, and pressure have been highly consistent during the period. Hence, these have been assembled into 20-sol composites and analyzed harmonically. Maximum temperature was 241.8°K and minimum 187.2°K. The composite wind vector has a mean diurnal magnitude of 2.4 meters per second with prevailing wind from the south and counterclockwise diurnal rotation. Pressure exhibits diurnal and semidiurnal oscillations. The diurnal is ascribed to a combination of effects, and the semidiurnal appears to be the solar semidiurnal tide. Similarities to Earth are discussed. A major finding is a continual secular decrease in diurnal mean pressure. This is ascribed to carbon dioxide deposition at the south polar cap.