Mars [image credit: NASA]

Researchers say this could open the door to prediction of dust storms, which can seriously affect the solar panels of devices sent to investigate distant bodies like Mars. They also suggest such patterns may be common to all planetary atmospheres.
– – –
Annular modes explain much of the internal variability of Earth’s atmosphere but have never been identified as influential on other planets, says Sci-News.

On Earth, the regularity of storm systems in the middle latitudes is associated with what is called an annular mode — a variability in atmospheric flow that is unrelated to the cycle of seasons.

Annular modes affect the jet stream, precipitation, and cloud formations across the planet.

They explain up to one-third of the variability in wind-driven ‘eddies,’ including blizzards in New England and severe storm outbreaks in the Midwest.

In a new study, Yale University researchers Juan Lora and J. Michael Battalio found that annular modes on Titan and Mars are even more influential than they are on Earth.

They appear to be responsible for up to half of the wind variability on Mars and two-thirds of the wind variability on Titan.

“Methane clouds and surface changes caused by methane rain on Titan have been observed before,” Dr. Lora said.

“And now it seems these events are connected to shifts of Titan’s strong jet stream, influenced by its annular modes.”

“The fact that we have found annular modes on worlds as different from Earth as Mars and Titan also means they may be ubiquitous in planetary atmospheres, from Venus, to the gas giants or exoplanets,” Dr. Battalio said.

Full article here.

Mars has annular modes. Image credit: Michael S. Helfenbein / NASA / JPL-Caltech.

via Tallbloke’s Talkshop

September 6, 2021