A Numerical Study of Convection in a Condensing CO2 Atmosphere under Early Mars-Like Conditions

Tatsuya Yamashita Geodetic Department, Geospatial Information Authority of Japan, Tsukuba, Japan

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Masatsugu Odaka Department of Cosmosciences, Hokkaido University, Sapporo, Japan

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Ko-ichiro Sugiyama Institute of Space and Astronautical Science, Sagamihara, Japan

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Kensuke Nakajima Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Kyushu University, Fukuoka, Japan

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Masaki Ishiwatari Department of Cosmosciences, Hokkaido University, Sapporo, Japan

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Seiya Nishizawa RIKEN Advanced Institute for Computational Science, Kobe, Japan

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Yoshiyuki O. Takahashi Department of Planetology, and Center for Planetary Science, Kobe University, Kobe, Japan

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Yoshi-Yuki Hayashi Department of Planetology, and Center for Planetary Science, Kobe University, Kobe, Japan

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Abstract

Cloud convection of a CO2 atmosphere where the major constituent condenses is numerically investigated under a setup idealizing a possible warm atmosphere of early Mars, utilizing a two-dimensional cloud-resolving model forced by a fixed cooling profile as a substitute for a radiative process. The authors compare two cases with different critical saturation ratios as condensation criteria and also examine sensitivity to number mixing ratio of condensed particles given externally.

When supersaturation is not necessary for condensation, the entire horizontal domain above the condensation level is continuously covered by clouds irrespective of number mixing ratio of condensed particles. Horizontal-mean cloud mass density decreases exponentially with height. The circulations below and above the condensation level are dominated by dry cellular convection and buoyancy waves, respectively.

When 1.35 is adopted as the critical saturation ratio, clouds appear exclusively as intense, short-lived, quasi-periodic events. Clouds start just above the condensation level and develop upward, but intense updrafts exist only around the cloud top; they do not extend to the bottom of the condensation layer. The cloud layer is rapidly warmed by latent heat during the cloud events, and then the layer is slowly cooled by the specified thermal forcing, and supersaturation gradually develops leading to the next cloud event. The periodic appearance of cloud events does not occur when number mixing ratio of condensed particles is large.

Denotes Open Access content.

Current affiliation: Department of Information Engineering, National Institute of Technology, Matsue College, Matsue, Japan.

Publisher’s Note: This article was revised on 7 October 2016 to correct a typographical error in the third author's name.

Corresponding author address: Masatsugu Odaka, Department of Cosmosciences, Graduate School of Science, Hokkaido University, Science Bldg. 8-202, Kita-10, Nishi-8, Kita-Ku, Sapporo 060-0810, Japan. E-mail: odakker@gfd-dennou.org

Abstract

Cloud convection of a CO2 atmosphere where the major constituent condenses is numerically investigated under a setup idealizing a possible warm atmosphere of early Mars, utilizing a two-dimensional cloud-resolving model forced by a fixed cooling profile as a substitute for a radiative process. The authors compare two cases with different critical saturation ratios as condensation criteria and also examine sensitivity to number mixing ratio of condensed particles given externally.

When supersaturation is not necessary for condensation, the entire horizontal domain above the condensation level is continuously covered by clouds irrespective of number mixing ratio of condensed particles. Horizontal-mean cloud mass density decreases exponentially with height. The circulations below and above the condensation level are dominated by dry cellular convection and buoyancy waves, respectively.

When 1.35 is adopted as the critical saturation ratio, clouds appear exclusively as intense, short-lived, quasi-periodic events. Clouds start just above the condensation level and develop upward, but intense updrafts exist only around the cloud top; they do not extend to the bottom of the condensation layer. The cloud layer is rapidly warmed by latent heat during the cloud events, and then the layer is slowly cooled by the specified thermal forcing, and supersaturation gradually develops leading to the next cloud event. The periodic appearance of cloud events does not occur when number mixing ratio of condensed particles is large.

Denotes Open Access content.

Current affiliation: Department of Information Engineering, National Institute of Technology, Matsue College, Matsue, Japan.

Publisher’s Note: This article was revised on 7 October 2016 to correct a typographical error in the third author's name.

Corresponding author address: Masatsugu Odaka, Department of Cosmosciences, Graduate School of Science, Hokkaido University, Science Bldg. 8-202, Kita-10, Nishi-8, Kita-Ku, Sapporo 060-0810, Japan. E-mail: odakker@gfd-dennou.org
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