Vernadsky-Brown Microsymposium 41
Climate Change in Mars History:
Geological Evidence and Implications for Climate Evolution
March 12-13, 2005

Lunar and Planetary Institute
3600 Bay Area Boulevard
Houston, Texas 77058

This year the Microsymposium will again focus on Mars. The theme will be geological evidence for climate change during Mars' history and the possible constraints these data place on climate evolution models. Recent results from Mars Odyssey, Mars Express, and Mars Exploration Rover missions have provided abundant evidence for Amazonian climate change and a range of surficial deposits that may reflect this change. In addition, these same data are now providing clues as to where water might be sequestered, both mineralogically bound and as buried deposits. Combinations of altimetry, images, and physical, chemical and mineralogical properties are now being used to address ancient Hesperian and Noachian-aged climates on Mars. Upcoming Mars missions will provide additional new data on these topics. Furthermore, Mars General Circulation Models (GCMs) and mesoscale models are becoming more sophisticated to the extent that they can be used to make predictions that can be tested with geological observations. GCMs can now be formulated to include significant variations in orbital parameters and different amounts of water vapor, in order to map water transport and budgets under different climatic conditions.

Thus, this seems to be a good time 1) to continue to investigate the most recent developments in models for general circulation and climate evolution and their predictions, as well as 2) to discuss new results in geological analysis of deposits that might represent the record of climate change during the history of Mars. Mutual discussion of these parallel themes in a workshop mode will help inform both communities of the promise and problems in deciphering the climate history of Mars. We also hope that it will begin to bring some collaboration and synergism to the investigation of the history of water and climate on Mars.

The workshop will include several keynote papers on specific aspects of the topic, as well contributed papers and posters. The key dimension is the workshop mode, which favors extended open discussion not commonly occurring at regular meetings, and we will strive to plan sufficient time for open discussion of important issues raised by the data and keynote presentations.

Among the key questions to be addressed are:

1. What are the distinctive geological features from which the record of climate change can be interpreted on Mars (e.g., polar deposits, evidence for buried ice, ancient glaciers, etc.)?

2. How have our perceptions of the implications of geological features for climate history changed since the post-Viking models?

3. What do new models of orbital parameter evolution predict about climate change and surface deposits?

4. Where do water and ice reside in non-polar regions and how has this changed our view of climate history?

5. What is the weathering regime (and implied weathering rates) of the surface and subsurface of Mars, how do terrestrial analogs inform us, and what are the implications for climate change?

6. What do recent general circulation and mesoscale climate models predict about the distribution of geological features?

7. How can geological features be used to refine and test general circulation models?

The Microsymposium will be held at the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston, Texas, beginning at 1 pm on Saturday, March 12, and will conclude Sunday, March 13, by 12 noon. The symposium will emphasize open discussion format but will be anchored by several invited overviews, posters, and some short contributed papers and commentaries.

Those wishing to attend the conference can register any time, including up to the time of the conference, but advance notice helps us plan refreshments and seating. If you are interested in participating in the Microsymposium, please email and indicate "Microsymposium 41" in the subject line. We ask that responses requesting presentations or posters be made as soon as possible but no later than January 10th, 2005. Please indicate the subject or theme of your presentation.

Please forward this announcement to any interested students and colleagues. For further updates, please consult:


Alexander Basilevsky, Jack Mustard, James Head, Mikhail Kreslavsky and David Marchant, Co-convenors.