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Application of surface thermal models to martian ground ice

Wednesday, April 12, 2006
Chamberlain (PSI)

I will discuss how thermal models can be used to predict the extent of stable near-surface ground ice on Mars for both the present and past epochs. The extent of stable ground ice is a function of surface temperature and the amount of water in the atmosphere; so ground-ice extent is a strong function of the climate at any epoch. Significant changes in the orbit of Mars - in obliquity in particular - have modified both the climate of Mars and the extent of ground ice. Using the model I have developed, ground ice is never stable at low latitudes, even at the highest obliquities, which is consistent with the distribution of some observed ice-related landforms.
I will also demonstrate how comparing observed surface temperatures to model temperatures can be used to determine the depth to ground ice.

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