Energy Budget of a planet

According to a new study, the imbalanced energy budget of the planet Mars can be a reason for dust storms occurring on it.

What is a planet’s Energy Budget?

The energy budget of a planet is the ratio of solar energy absorbed by it and heat released by it into space.

How Energy Budget affects dust storms?

According to a recent study, in the Southern Hemisphere of Mars, the energy budget goes out of balance in the spring and summer seasons. Thus, energy excess (absorbing more energy by the planet than it emits) can be one of the factors driving the dust storms on Mars. These dust storms are very intense. They last for many weeks and cover large areas. According to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the dust storms on Mars are even captured by the telescopes on the Earth.

The recent study involved analyzing data on Mars’ orbits and temperatures from various missions of NASA from 1997 to 2005. By comparing energy emitted in dust storm years and non-dust storm years on Mars, the scientists understood the link between dust storms and the energy budget of Mars.  Dust storms lift dust from the surface of Mars to its atmosphere; thereby affecting the incoming solar energy and outgoing thermal energy. Thus dust storms also impact the energy budget.

What is the importance of studying the energy budget of Mars?

Earth also has an energy budget. Studying the patterns of the energy budget of Mars will help scientists understand the role the energy budget of the Earth plays in developing storms such as hurricanes and other severe storms.

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