Snow might be falling fast and furious on Mars, and the squalls only happen in the nighttime over certain regions of the Red Planet, according to new computer simulations of the Martian atmosphere.
The computer models were based on data from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, the Mars Global Surveyor, and the Phoenix lander missions and could help improve scientists’ understanding of the planet’s annual water cycle — both past and present.
The findings were published this week in the journal Nature Geoscience.
Lead author Aymeric Spiga of Pierre and Marie Curie University in Paris said their simulations would suggest a more “intense” water cycle on Mars than what is currently assumed.
“Our precipitation mechanism is important because this means that we'll have to revisit the transport and distribution of water vapor in the atmosphere of Mars, as well as seasonal ice deposits in particular in polar regions,” Spiga said in an email.