Characterizing Dust-Radiation Feedback and Refining the Horizontal Resolution of the MarsWRF Model Down to 0.5 Degree

C. Gebhardt*, A. Abuelgasim, R. M. Fonseca, J. Martín-Torres, M. P. Zorzano

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
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In this study, three simulations by the Mars Weather Research and Forecasting Model are compared: two 10 Martian year (MY) 2° × 2° simulations with (i) fully radiatively active dust and (ii) a prescribed dust scenario, and a (iii) 1 MY 0.5° × 0.5° simulation with prescribed dust as in (ii). From comparing (i) and (ii), we found that the impact of dust-radiation feedback is individually different for any region. The most striking evidence are major dust lifting activities to the south of Chryse Planitia (S-CP) seen in (i) but not in (ii). By contrast, dust lifting and deposition on the southern slopes and inside the Hellas Basin are similar in both simulations. The latter, in turn, points toward a similar near-surface atmospheric circulation. In (iii), the total global amount of wind stress lifted dust is by a factor of ∼8 higher than in (ii), with S-CP being a major lifting region as in (i). Nonetheless, the surface dust lifting by wind stress in (iii) may be also reduced regionally, as seen at the peak of Elysium Mons because of its unique topography. The zonal mean circulation in (i) is generally of a comparable strength to that in (ii), with exceptions in global dust storm years, when it is clearly stronger in (i), in line with a dustier atmosphere. The differences in the zonal mean circulation between (ii) and (iii) are mostly at lower altitudes and may arise because of differences in the representation of the topography.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2020JE006672
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Planets
Issue number3
Early online date16 Mar 2021
Publication statusPublished - 16 Mar 2021

Bibliographical note

Once again, our warmest thanks go to the PlanetWRF development team for providing the MarsWRF model free of charge to us and their proactive attitude in general. We would also like to thank two anonymous reviewers and the Associate Editor Dr Claire Newman
for their several detailed and insightful comments and suggestions that helped to significantly improve the quality of the paper. We would like to acknowl- edge the support of this work by funding from the United Arab Emirates University (UAE University). Also, we are deeply grateful to High-Performance Computing, Division of Information Technology, UAE University, for the valuable access to the computational resources required for this work. We thank IT engineers Asma AlNeyadi, Anil Thomas, and Nithin Damodaran for their professional assistance and support in technical questions. M.-P. Z. has been partially funded by the AEI (MDM-2017-0737, Unity of Excellence “María de Maeztu” - Centro de Astro- biología (CSIC-INTA)) and the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation (PID2019-104205GB-C219). Finally,
we declare that there are no real or perceived conflicts of interests for any author.


  • dust cycle
  • dust-radiation feedback
  • interactive dust
  • MarsWRF model
  • model resolution
  • prescribed dust


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