01/14/2009 - Laboratory Studies of Water Ice Cloud formation under Martian Conditions


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Dr. Laura T. Iraci, NASA Ames Research Center

Water ice clouds are an important part of the martian hydrological cycle, influencing the water and energy budgets. Microphysical models can be used to study the connections between cloud formation and water distribution throughout the system (for example, as surface frost layers), but only if the intricacies of cloud formation and growth are understood and properly parameterized. To that end, we have performed laboratory studies of water ice nucleation on a variety of surrogate materials and have found that initiation of ice is more difficult than often presumed. We will report these results, along with preliminary growth rate observations.

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