Thermal Tides in the Dusty Martian Atmosphere: A Verification of Theory

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Science  24 Jul 1981:
Vol. 213, Issue 4506, pp. 437-439
DOI: 10.1126/science.213.4506.437


Major features of the daily surface pressure oscillations observed by the Viking landers during the two great dust storms on Mars in 1977 can be explained in terms of the classical atmospheric tidal theory developed for the earth's atmosphere. The most dramatic exception is the virtual disappearance of only the diurnal tide at Viking Lander 1 just before the second storm. This disappearance is attributed to destructive interference between the usually westward-traveling tide and an eastward-traveling diurnal Kelvin mode generated by orographically induced differential heating. The continuing Viking Lander 1 pressure measurements can be used with the model to monitor future great dust storms.