From Macro- to Microscale: A combined modelling approach for near-surface wind flow on Mars at sub-dune length-scales

PLoS One. 2022 Nov 4;17(11):e0276547. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0276547. eCollection 2022.

ABSTRACT

The processes that initiate and sustain sediment transport which contribute to the modification of aeolian deposits in Mars’ low-density atmosphere are still not fully understood despite recent atmospheric modelling. However, detailed microscale wind flow modelling, using Computational Fluid Dynamics at a resolution of <2 m, provides insights into the near-surface processes that cannot be modeled using larger-scale atmospheric modeling. Such Computational Fluid Dynamics simulations cannot by themselves account for regional-scale atmospheric circulations or flow modifications induced by regional km-scale topography, although realistic fine-scale mesoscale atmospheric modeling can. Using the output parameters from mesoscale simulations to inform the input conditions for the Computational Fluid Dynamics microscale simulations provides a practical approach to simulate near-surface wind flow and its relationship to very small-scale topographic features on Mars, particularly in areas which lack in situ rover data. This paper sets out a series of integrated techniques to enable a multi-scale modelling approach for surface airflow to derive surface airflow dynamics at a (dune) landform scale using High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment derived topographic data. The work therefore provides a more informed and realistic Computational Fluid Dynamics microscale modelling method, which will provide more detailed insight into the surface wind forcing of aeolian transport patterns on martian surfaces such as dunes.

PMID:36331923 | PMC:PMC9635718 | DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0276547

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