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Predicting Martian Dune Characteristics Using Global and Mesoscale MarsWRF Output Claire Newman working with Nick Lancaster, Dave Rubin and Mark Richardson.

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Presentation on theme: "Predicting Martian Dune Characteristics Using Global and Mesoscale MarsWRF Output Claire Newman working with Nick Lancaster, Dave Rubin and Mark Richardson."— Presentation transcript:

1 Predicting Martian Dune Characteristics Using Global and Mesoscale MarsWRF Output Claire Newman working with Nick Lancaster, Dave Rubin and Mark Richardson Acknowledgements: funding from NASA’s MFR program, and use of NASA’s HEC facility right here at Ames.

2 Overview of talk Motivation (why dunes?) Dune features we can compare with Some dune theory Modeling approach Preliminary results: Global Preliminary results: Gale Crater

3 Motivation: how do dunes provide insight into recent climate change on Mars? Higher obliquity should produce stronger circulations & surface stresses, hence might expect more saltation and dune formation Features (i.e., dune orientations, migration directions, etc.) in disagreement with predictions for current wind regime may indicate inactive dunes formed in past orbital epochs Also – In absence of near-surface meteorological monitoring, predicting characteristics of active dunes can help us confirm that we – have the current wind regime right – understand dune formation processes

4 Dune features we can compare with

5 Locations Bourke and Goudie, 2009

6 Locations Bedform (crest) orientations Images: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona Dune features we can compare with

7 Locations Bedform (crest) orientations Images: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona Dune features we can compare with

8 Locations Bedform (crest) orientations Inferred migration directions (crater dunes) Hayward et al., 2009 Dune features we can compare with

9 Locations – Use a numerical model to predict saltation over a Mars year, assuming a range of saltation thresholds Bedform (crest) orientations – Apply ‘Gross Bedform-Normal Transport’ theory Inferred migration directions (crater dunes) – Assume correlated with resultant (net) transport direction Dune features we can compare with

10 Some dune theory

11 2 key issues Dunes form in the long-term wind field Dune orientations are not determined by net transport

12 Gross Bedform-Normal Transport A simple example to illustrate a point Dune crest Rubin and Hunter, 1987

13 A simple example to illustrate a point Dune crest First wind direction Gross Bedform-Normal Transport

14 A simple example to illustrate a point Dune crest First wind direction Second wind direction Gross Bedform-Normal Transport

15 A simple example to illustrate a point Net transport = 0 Dune crest First wind direction Second wind direction Gross Bedform-Normal Transport

16 A simple example to illustrate a point Net transport = 0 But both wind directions shown cause the bedform to build Dune crest First wind direction Second wind direction Gross Bedform-Normal Transport

17 A simple example to illustrate a point Net transport = 0 But both wind directions shown cause the bedform to build => rather than net transport, we are interested in gross transport perpendicular to the bedform, regardless of the ‘sense’ of the wind (i.e., N-S versus S-N) Dune crest First wind direction Second wind direction Gross Bedform-Normal Transport

18 Bedform orientation – the theory

19 A = NET TRANSPORT OF SAND A Bedform orientation – the theory

20

21 B + C = GROSS BEDFORM-NORMAL SAND TRANSPORT B C Bedform orientation – the theory

22 Basic concept: dunes form due to sand transport in both directions across bedform Bedforms align such that total transport across dune crest is maximum in a given wind field where total transport = Gross Bedform-Normal Transport [Rubin and Hunter, 1987] B + C = GROSS BEDFORM-NORMAL SAND TRANSPORT B C Bedform orientation – the theory

23 Modeling approach (1)

24 Run numerical model to predict near-surface winds at all times for a long time period (at least 1yr) to capture the long-term dune- forming wind field Choose a saltation threshold and calculate sand fluxes in all directions [0, 1, …359° from N] Consider all possible bedform orientations [0, 1, …179° from N] Sum the gross sand flux perpendicular to each orientation over the entire time period Find the orientation for which the total gross flux is maximum NB: secondary maxima indicate secondary bedform orientations Bedform orientation – the approach

25 The numerical model: MarsWRF Mars version of planetWRF (available at Developed from Weather Research and Forecasting [WRF] model widely used for terrestrial meteorology Multi-scale 3D model capable of: – Large Eddy Simulations – Standalone mesoscale – Global – Global with nesting Using global and global with nesting for these studies

26 Version of MarsWRF used here includes: Seasonal and diurnal cycle of solar heating, using correlated-k radiative transfer scheme (provides good fit to results produced using line-by-line code) CO 2 cycle (condensation and sublimation) Vertical mixing of heat, dust and momentum according to atmospheric stability Sub-surface diffusion of heat Prescribed seasonally-varying atmospheric dust (to mimic e.g. a dust storm year or a year with no major storms) or fully interactive dust (with parameterized dust injection) Ability to place high-resolution nests over regions of interest

27 Results

28 Present day global dune results comparing with Mars Global Digital Dune Database (MGD 3, e.g. Hayward et al., 2009): 1. Dune centroid azimuth – compare with GCM-predicted resultant transport direction

29 Present day global dune results comparing with Mars Global Digital Dune Database (MGD 3, e.g. Hayward et al., 2009): 1. Dune centroid azimuth – compare with GCM-predicted resultant transport direction 2. Slipface orientation – compare with normal to GCM- predicted bedform orientation

30 Present day global dune results comparing with Mars Global Digital Dune Database (MGD 3, e.g. Hayward et al., 2009): 1. Dune centroid azimuth – compare with GCM-predicted resultant transport direction –agreement => within 45° of dune centroid azimuth direction 2. Slipface orientation – compare with normal to GCM-predicted bedform orientation – agreement => within 45° of normal to slipface

31 Comparison of predicted and inferred migration direction for present day using saltation threshold=0 Green => agreement between predicted and inferred migration direction Blue => no agreement Red => no comparison possible

32 Comparison of predicted and inferred migration direction for present day using saltation threshold=0.007N/m 2 Green => agreement between predicted and inferred migration direction Blue => no agreement Red => no comparison possible

33 Comparison of predicted and inferred migration direction for present day using saltation threshold=0.021N/m 2 Green => agreement between predicted and inferred migration direction Blue => no agreement Red => no comparison possible

34 Comparison of predicted and measured bedform orientation direction for present day using saltation threshold=0 Green => agreement between predicted and inferred bedform orientation Blue => no agreement Red => no comparison possible

35 Comparison of predicted and measured bedform orientation direction for present day using saltation threshold=0.007N/m 2 Green => agreement between predicted and inferred bedform orientation Blue => no agreement Red => no comparison possible

36 Green => agreement between predicted and inferred bedform orientation Blue => no agreement Red => no comparison possible Comparison of predicted and measured bedform orientation direction for present day using saltation threshold=0.021N/m 2

37 Comparison of predicted and inferred migration direction for obliquity 35° using saltation threshold=0.007N/m 2 Green => agreement between predicted and inferred migration direction Blue => no agreement Red => no comparison possible

38 Comparison of predicted and inferred migration direction for present day using saltation threshold=0.007N/m 2 Green => agreement between predicted and inferred migration direction Blue => no agreement Red => no comparison possible

39 Modeling approach (2)

40 One or more high-resolution ‘nests’, placed only over regions in which increased resolution is desired Nesting in MarsWRF

41 20°E 25°E30°E35°E 5°N 5°S 0° 15°E Mother [global] domain (only a portion shown) Domain 2 (5 x resolution of domain 1) Domain 3 (5 x resolution of domain 2; 25 x resolution of domain 1)

42 20°E 25°E30°E35°E 5°N 5°S 0° 15°E Mother [global] domain Domain 2 Domain 3 2-way nesting => feedbacks between domains 1-way nesting => parent forces child only

43 Sample results for Gale at Ls ~ 0° using mesoscale nesting in global MarsWRF

44 Gale dune studies – early results (~4km resolution) Gale Crater: predicted (a) resultant transport direction [black arrows] (b) dune orientations [white lines] for saltation threshold = 0

45 Gale dune studies – early results (~4km resolution) Gale Crater: predicted (a) resultant transport direction [black arrows] (b) dune orientations [white lines] for saltation threshold = 0.007N/m 2

46 Gale dune studies – early results (~4km resolution) Gale Crater: predicted (a) resultant transport direction [black arrows] (b) dune orientations [white lines] for saltation threshold = 0.021N/m 2

47 Gale dune studies – present day Mars No saltation thresholdSaltation threshold = 0.007N/m 2

48 No saltation thresholdSaltation threshold = 0.007N/m 2 Gale dune studies – present day Mars

49 No saltation thresholdSaltation threshold = 0.007N/m 2 Gale dune studies – present day Mars From Hobbs et al., 2010

50 Gale dune studies – present day Mars Simply changing the assumed saltation threshold greatly improves the match to observed bedform orientations Effect of large dust storms not yet examined, but likely will also impact winds hence orientations Orbital changes and impact on circulation widen parameter space even further!

51 Gale dune studies – obliquity 35° Gale Crater: predicted (a) resultant transport direction [black arrows] (b) dune orientations [white lines] for saltation threshold = 0

52 Gale dune studies – obliquity 35° Gale Crater: predicted (a) resultant transport direction [black arrows] (b) dune orientations [white lines] for saltation threshold = 0.007N/m 2

53 Gale dune studies – obliquity 35° Gale Crater: predicted (a) resultant transport direction [black arrows] (b) dune orientations [white lines] for saltation threshold = 0.021N/m 2

54 Gale dune studies – obliquity 35° No saltation thresholdThreshold = 0.007N/m 2 Threshold = 0.021N/m 2

55 Conclusions (1) Bedform orientations and dune migration directions may be related (roughly) to ‘gross’ and ‘net’ sand transport by long- term (~multi-annual) wind regime Typical global model resolutions (2°-5°) are too low to resolve topographic features influencing dunes Mesoscale numerical modeling spanning entire year can be used to predict long-term wind regime and sand transport Rubin and Hunter [1987] Gross Bedform-Normal Transport theory provides clean predictions of bedform orientations

56 Conclusions (2) Recent studies (e.g. Bridges et al., Nature, in press) indicate currently active dune fields that can be used to validate our approach for present day Mars Possibly inactive regions with strong discrepancies not explainable by varying saltation threshold, dust loading, etc. may imply formation during past orbital epoch Future study regions include Proctor Crater, a North Polar dune field, … Lots more to do!


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