August 2, 2013: Inter-annual Similarites during the Martian Dusty Season and Implications for InSight Landing

We investigated the occurrence of large (regional) dust storms during the martian dusty season—southern spring and summer (Ls 180° to 360°). We used a zonal mean climatology at 50 Pa from TES/MGS and MCS/MRO to identify the regional and global dust storms and then to characterize their extent and evolution. A 200 K contour outlines the season and latitudinal extend of the significant storms in the zonal mean climatology. We find that years without a global dust storm are quite similar. There are three regional storms each of the five years without a global dust storm covered by the two instruments (MY24, MY26, MY29, MY30 and MY31). The exact timing, duration and peak temperatures vary from year  to year, but each of the three storms has distinct characteristics and behavior and overall the years follow a very similar patern. In addition to examining the detailed characteristics of each of the three storms, this has implications for the InSight landing planned for Ls 230°. It may be an exciting and difficult to predict ride through the atmosphere.

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