Mars Ocean Hypothesis - Theoretical Issues - Primordial Martian Climate

Primordial Martian Climate

The existence of liquid water on the surface of Mars requires both a warmer and thicker atmosphere. Atmospheric pressure on the present day Martian surface only exceeds that of the triple point of water (6.11 hPa) in the lowest elevations; at higher elevations water can exist only in solid or vapor form (assuming pure water). Annual mean temperatures at the surface are currently less than 210 K, significantly less than what is needed to sustain liquid water. However, early in its history Mars may have had conditions more conducive to retaining liquid water at the surface.

Early Mars had a carbon dioxide atmosphere similar in thickness to present-day Earth (1000 hPa). Despite a weak early Sun, the greenhouse effect from a thick carbon dioxide atmosphere, if bolstered with small amounts of methane or insulating effects of carbon dioxide ice clouds, would have been sufficient to warm the mean surface temperature to a value above the freezing point of water. The atmosphere has since been reduced by sequestration in the ground in the form of carbonates through weathering, as well as loss to space through sputtering (an interaction with the solar wind due to the lack of a strong Martian magnetosphere).

The obliquity (axial tilt) of Mars varies considerably on geologic timescales, and has a strong impact on planetary climate conditions.

Read more about this topic:  Mars Ocean Hypothesis, Theoretical Issues

Famous quotes containing the words climate and/or primordial:

    Certainly parents play a crucial role in the lives of individuals who are intellectually gifted or creatively talented. But this role is not one of active instruction, of teaching children skills,... rather, it is support and encouragement parents give children and the intellectual climate that they create in the home which seem to be the critical factors.
    David Elkind (20th century)

    I am, in point of fact, a particularly haughty and exclusive person, of pre-Adamite ancestral descent. You will understand this when I tell you that I can trace my ancestry back to a protoplasmal primordial atomic globule.
    Sir William Schwenck Gilbert (1836–1911)