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This is an image of a Martian storm front.
Image from: NASA

Martian Storm

This is an image of a storm moving across the Martian terrain. The camera is looking down upon the storm and the storm front forms a spiral pattern, the same way terrestrial storms are presented on the evening news. The storm provides evidence of water, and a water cycle on Mars.

As early as 1796 scientists were reporting "yellow", and "white" or "bluish" clouds in the Martian atmosphere. However, it wasn't until the Mariner 9 mission that clouds of water were positively identified.

Clouds seem to be plentiful only near the equator, and more study is needed to understand just how the clouds come and go in the Martian atmosphere. For example, even though clouds have been found, there is still little evidence when and where it actually rains on Mars, if at all.

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The Mariner Missions to Mars

Prior to the Mariner missions, we had to rely on ground-based observations to look at Mars. Using ground-based observations, scientists were able to identify channels, polar caps which varied with season,...more

Weather found by Mars Pathfinder

This is the first image showing clouds of Mars taken from the lander. Ground based viewing of Mars has shown that clouds seem to be plentiful only in the middle latitudes As early as 1796 scientists were...more

The Martian Cryosphere

The drawing shows a crossection of the crust, and the unusual altitude variation of the Martian surface. The figure illustrates the depth of frozen ground at various latitudes, called the cryosphere. The...more

Martian Volcanoes

On this map of Mars, the lightly cratered Tharsis Ridge is shown, as well as the heavily cratered Martian highlands (near the bottom of the picture), and Valles Marineris to the right. The volcanoes are...more

The Transfer of Water in Martian History

On Mars, the water is trapped, frozen, within the ground. Nevertheless, there is evidence for running water on Mars. When the water is melted and released to the surface, it will run from higher ground...more

Martian Floods

Separate from the Martian outflow channels, or the river valley networks, are large Martian lakes (600 km, or ~1000 miles across) which exhibit evidence of a periodic and catastrophic release of water...more

Martian Fog

This is an image of fog in a Martian canyon. The presence of fog provides evidence of water, and a water cycle on Mars. More fog has been seen in images returned by Mars Global Surveyor of the south polar...more

Martian Orbital Eccentricity

The Martian climate is more influenced by the shape of the Martian orbit than the climate of the Earth is influenced by the shape of the Earth's orbit. The orbit of Mars is more oval-shaped than that...more

Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA