Peculiar Icy Clouds May Have Kept Early Mars Warm Enough For Flowing Rivers

Mars is a dry and cold earth today but billions of years ago, it flow rivers despite less than one-third of the sunlight our planet receives.

So how did Mars get hot enough to hold liquid water? A new study suggests that this may be due to some special ice clouds. As published in the proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a thin layer of high-altitude long-lasting ice clouds may be enough to create a greenhouse effect. This will keep the Red Planet warm enough, even considering the sunlight that has diminished in the past.

Peculiar Icy Clouds May Have Kept Early Mars Warm Enough For Flowing Rivers

Lead author professor Edwin Kite from the University of Chicago said in a statement, “It’s an embarrassing connection between our evidence and our ability to explain it in physics and chemistry.” “This assumption goes a long way towards closing that gap.” This model was previously proposed but dropped because it does not work if the water cycle occurs as fast as the Earth. Dragons and colleagues have argued that Mars, even at its lowest point, had much less water than Earth today, and that its water cycle probably allowed water particles to stay in the air for up to a year.

The kite explained, “In the model these clouds behave like a very non-Earth. Building models will not work exactly in Earth-based recognition, because it is not at all similar to the Earth’s water cycle, which quickly moves water into the atmosphere which and the surface.”

“Our model suggests that once water first enters the Martian atmosphere, it stays there for a long time – close to a year – and this creates long-term high-altitude cloud conditions.” According to the models, the climate is dry and relative humidity is about 25 percent because of ice-cloud-induced global warming. Lakes in this type of environment will melt ice or arise from groundwater.

“Mars is important because it’s the only planet we know that has the ability to support life – and then it loses,” Dragon said. “Earth’s long-term climate stability is remarkable. We want to understand how a planet’s long-term climate stability can be broken – and how it can maintain (not just Earth’s path). This finding defines new areas of comparative planetary practice.” It hoped that NASA’s perseverance would be able to test this hypothesis in multiple ways in the coming years.