Journal article Open Access

Albedo of the south pole on Mars determined by topographic forcing of atmosphere dynamics

Colaprete, Anthony; Barnes, Jeffrey R.; Haberle, Robert M.; Hollingsworth, Jeffery L.; Kieffer, Hugh H.; Titus, Timothy N.

Why is the south polar cap of Mars not at the geographic south pole? Since the early observations of Mars in the nineteenth century, the peculiar offset of the martian south polar perennial cap of frozen carbon dioxide, and the existence of a dark cryptic region seen in the adjacent hemisphere have puzzled planetary scientists. A combination of observations and climate modelling now suggests that the offset of the cap and creation of the cryptic region are the result of two very distinct climate regimes generated by atmospheric flow interacting with the southernmost extent of the giant volcano Tharsis, and the large impact basins Argyre and Hellas.

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