On Mars, the Dust Devil's in the Details

Discoveries about the atmospheres of other planets have been closely linked to insights about our own. When a young Carl Sagan confirmed the effect of high CO2 concentrations—a runaway greenhouse effect—on Venus in 1960, for instance, he helped intensify interest in potential anthropogenic warming on Earth.
Conversely, climate models, and now mesoscale weather models such as the WRF, developed for Earthly forecasting, are applied to modeling conditions elsewhere.  At the AMS’s first Symposium on Planetary Atmospheres in Atlanta, Scot Rafkin of the Southwest Research Institute will present, “Application of Mesoscale Atmospheric Models to Mars Missions” (Thursday, 11 a.m., B211). He’ll discuss how terrestrial weather models helped engineers anticipate landing conditions on the Red Planet as well as

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