Dust storms are among the defining features of Mars’s atmosphere and greatly impact its circulation and thermal structure. Large, regional dust storms primarily originate in the northern hemisphere and are caused by traveling baroclinic waves in fall and winter. However, the relationships between specific dynamical structures within these waves and the morphology of visible dust features remains poorly constrained. With the development of observation-based reanalysis datasets, the evolution of dust activity and their incipient wave structures can be better determined.
Case studies of large dust storms in the Martian northern hemisphere are selected from the Mars Dust Activity Database (Battalio and Wang, 2021) and compared to wave activity as diagnosed in reanalysis datasets. The wave winds and temperature structures are compared to the morphology of the dust storms, and the sources of eddy energy are evaluated. Frontal structures exhibited by the dust storms compare well to near-surface wave structures, including wind shifts and surface cyclones/anti-cyclones. Dust event evolution shares similarities to the terrestrial paradigm of extra-tropical cyclogenesis, maturity, and decay. These results point to the development of cyclone models for Mars, which may enable better inter-seasonal and inter-annual comparisons.