Mars atmosphere modelling and observations

Purpose, scope, and scientific program

Purpose and Scope :

Among the many worlds that compose our solar system, there is considerable current interest in Mars. This is notably due to its atmosphere which has shaped its surface and may have created climatic conditions which were suitable for sustaining liquid water and life in the past. The study of the Martian atmosphere is also of great interest for studies of comparative meteorology, in order to better understand the Earth's atmosphere, and to improve our knowledge of the Martian environment for future spacecraft missions.

As for the Earth, serious studies of the Martian atmosphere now require a combination of modelling techniques and spacecraft and in situ observations. On the basis of the Mars Global Surveyor data now available, with ESA's Mars Express about to set out on its way, and the Mars Reconaissance Orbiter and other missions planned in the next few years, the purpose of this workshop is to focus on the current atmospheric circulation and its coupling with the dust, CO2 and water transport cycles, and to address the following questions:

  • How successful is the current generation of models in representing our understanding of the present climate system on Mars?
  • How best should we improve the models?
  • Which new data are needed?
  • How should we make the observations and model results available to the rest of the scientific community?
  • How can the observations and model results be made accessible and useful in the process of future mission design?
  • The workshop will include invited and contributed talks, and contributed poster presentations. Presentations about global and mesoscale modelling of the Martian atmosphere and thermosphere in the present epoch are welcome, together with discussions of observational data analysis and methodologies. However, models and theories on Mars past climates are out of the scope of this short workshop.

    Preliminary program

  • Observations: invited and contributed talks about the observations of the atmospheric thermal structure
  • General circulation modelling: Simulation of the Martian Atmosphere Circulation (T, wind, pressure). Invited and contributed talks on model design, comparison with the observations, analysis of the dynamics: What do we not understand ?
  • GCM Model intercomparison (see below)
  • Data assimilation
  • Meso-scale modelling : incited and contributed talks; intercomparison

  • General Observations: review talk on instrument results
  • The dust cycle: analysis of observations ; dust cycle and dust storms modelling ; model intercomparison
  • Water vapor and water ice clouds: analysis of observations ; water cycle and cloud modelling ; model intercomparison
  • CO2 cycle and polar processes



  • REFERENCE ATMOSPHERE AND DATABASE (for mission design and the science community)
  • Model intercomparison

    Within the context of the workshop, several model intercomparison studies are performed. During the workshop, the results of these intercomparison effort will be given by scientits who kindly accepted to perform or coordinate the intercomparison effort in collaboration with the relevant teams. These scientists will give this "intercomparison talk in addition to a more personal talk on their own work.

    NEW : The Intercomparison Information Web page


    General coordination : Claire Newman (

  • Lower atmosphere radiative transfer model (H. Savijarvi :
  • GCM Intercomparison: zonal mean fields (A. Bridger :
  • GCM Intercomparison: Stationary wave (J. Hollinsworth:
  • GCM Intercomparison: Tides and travelling waves (J. Wilson:
  • Intercomparison of mesoscale models (TBD)
  • GCM/dust transport models (C. Newman :
  • Water vapor cycle simulation (M. Richardson, TBC)
  • Upper atmosphere radiative transfer model (M. Lopez Valverde :
  • Thermosphere general circulation models (M. Angelats i Coll: