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Low-order dynamical behavior in the martian atmosphere: Diagnosis of general circulation model results

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Abstract

The hypothesis of a low dimensional martian climate attractor is investigated by the application of the proper orthogonal decomposition (POD) to a simulation of martian atmospheric circulation using the UK Mars general circulation model (UK-MGCM). In this article we focus on a time series of the interval between autumn and winter in the northern hemisphere, when baroclinic activity is intense. The POD is a statistical technique that allows the attribution of total energy (TE) to particular structures embedded in the UK-MGCM time-evolving circulation. These structures are called empirical orthogonal functions (EOFs). Ordering the EOFs according to their associated energy content, we were able to determine the necessary number to account for a chosen amount of atmospheric TE. We show that for Mars a large fraction of TE is explained by just a few EOFs (with 90% TE in 23 EOFs), which apparently support the initial hypothesis. We also show that the resulting EOFs represent classical types of atmospheric motion, such as thermal tides and transient waves. Thus, POD is shown to be an efficient method for the identification of different classes of atmospheric modes. It also provides insight into the non-linear interaction of these modes.

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