Martian Environment Model


This study examined the various components of what constitutes the Martian environment, particularly those aspects that will affect probe entry, parachute descent, operations of a station at the surface. All Those elements where reviewed in a technical note. In addition, use was made of state-of-the-art general circulation models to build a realistic dynamical climate model for Mars, encompassing in a physically-consistent manner all what is known about the various component of the Martian climatic system, including:

  • real topography according to three different sources
  • soil thermal inertia and surface albedo as measured during Viking missions.
  • explicit atmospheric dynamics, including condensation of the atmosphere on the polar ice-caps.
  • state-of-the art radiative transfer in the presence of aerosols.

Following validation of the model dynamics, using intercomparison of two independently developed GCMs (LMD& AOPP), and of the model physics, using results of Mariner 9, Viking, Phobos and Pathfinder missions, a systematic Martian climate database was built. It includes:

  • for 3 different dust scenarios, for 12 seasons, for 20 altitudes between 5m and 50 km, mean seasonal values and standard deviations of temperature, density, winds and eddy kinetic energy in the boundary layer, as well as mean seasonal values and standard deviations for surface CO2 ice cover, surface emissivity, surface pressure and temperature.
  • a software interface identical to Mars-GRAM's, designed for either interactive or batch access to the database.
  • procedures to compute small-scale statistics consistent with the large-scale fields for any location, altitude and season.


Products & Information

  • A review of the Martian environment.
  • Technical notes describing modifications to existing general circulation models to describe the Martian climate system.
  • The General circulation model of the Martian atmosphere, and 12 restart files for each season, allowing detailed simulation of complete daily cycles.
  • The Martian Climate Database (MCD)
  • A Mars-GRAM software interface to the database, as well as extensive software libraries allowing access to the database from mission analysis software.
  • A direct access to the MCD via the web.
  • Complete software documentaion for the database and the GCM user's manuals, detailed design documents etc...)



n addition to several publications in international journals and conferences (see links), the Martian Climate Database and the Martian general circulation models are used both by LMD and AOPP to support future Mars missions.

Complete documentation concerning the database, technical notes, publications, user's manuals etc... can be retrieved from AOPP and LMD servers (see links)