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Mars' volatile and climate history

Abstract

There is substantial evidence that the martian volatile inventory and climate have changed markedly throughout the planet's history. Clues come from areas as disparate as the history and properties of the deep interior, the composition of the crust and regolith, the morphology of the surface, composition of the present-day atmosphere, and the nature of the interactions between the upper atmosphere and the solar wind. We piece together the relevant observations into a coherent view of the evolution of the martian climate, focusing in particular on the observations that provide the strongest constraints.

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Figure 1: Schematic diagram showing the interconnected nature of the martian climate system and the relationship between climate and various processes from the deep interior to the upper atmosphere.
Figure 2: Schematic diagram showing the time history of the martian volatile system.
Figure 3: Topography98 of Tharsis rise and Tharsis trough28.
Figure 4: Comparison of martian magnetic field, topography and valley network locations.
Figure 5: View of topography (from ref. 98) looking towards the southeast in Margaritifer Sinus region.

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Acknowledgements

We thank C. Leovy, S. Stewart, L. Leshin, M. Mellon, H. Frey, P. Withers, B. Hynek, K. Harrison, W. Hartmann and the MOLA science team for valuable discussions and for providing preprints of their manuscripts. We also thank J. Head, R. Haberle and C. Leovy for detailed reviews of our manuscript. This research was supported by the Mars Global Surveyor Project and the NASA Planetary Geology and Geophysics Program.

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Jakosky, B., Phillips, R. Mars' volatile and climate history. Nature 412, 237–244 (2001). https://doi.org/10.1038/35084184

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