Third International Conference on Early Mars

National Aeronautics and Space

Universities Space Research Association
NASA Science Mission Directorate Divisions:
Earth Science
Planetary Science

Lunar and Planetary Institute

Southwest Research Institute
International Commission on Planetary Atmospheres and their Evolution/ International Association of Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences/International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics
Venus Exploration Analysis Group (VEXAG)
Mars Exploration Program Analysis Group
Outer Planets Assessment Group (OPAG)
The Planetary Society

Mark A. Bullock
Department of Space Studies, Southwest Research Institute

Waleed Abdalati
Chief Scientist, NASA

Richard S. Eckman
Earth Science Division, NASA

Lori S. Glaze
Planetary Geodynamics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Jim Green
Planetary Science Division, NASA

David H. Grinspoon
Denver Museum of Nature and Science

Madhulika Guhathakurta
Heliophysics Division, NASA

James E. Hansen
NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies

Sanjay S. Limaye
Space Science and Engineering Center, University of Wisconsin

Stephen Mackwell
Lunar and Planetary Institute

Adriana Ocampo
Planetary Science Division, NASA

Mario R. Perez
Astrophysics Division, NASA

Suzanne E. Smrekar
Jet Propulsion Laboratory

First Announcement — December 2011

Meeting Location and Date

The conference on Comparative Climatology of Terrestrial Planets will be held June 25–28, 2012, at the Hotel Boulderado, located at 2115 Thirteenth Street, Boulder CO 80302.


Each of the rocky planets with atmospheres in our solar system has a distinctly different climate. Initial conditions, solar input, climate forcing, and climate feedbacks are all different on these worlds, resulting in environments that are radically different from Earth's. An even wider range of conditions are possible on terrestrial planets around other stars. While the physical and chemical principles that operate are the same, different climate processes dominate on different planets.

Comparative Climatology of Terrestrial Planets will explore the differences and similarities between the climates of terrestrial planets in the solar system and beyond. With an emphasis on experimental methods and models, the synergies between Earth science, planetary science, heliophysics, and exoplanet studies will be exploited to identify objectives for future research and missions.

Purpose and Scope

The goal of this conference is to look at climate in the broadest sense possible — by comparing the processes at work on the four terrestrial bodies, Earth, Venus, Mars, and Titan (Titan is included because it hosts many terrestrial processes), and on terrestrial planets around other stars. These processes include the interactions of shortwave and thermal radiation with the atmosphere, condensation and vaporization of volatiles, atmospheric dynamics and chemistry, and the role of the surface and interior in the long-term evolution of climate. Conference talks will compare the scientific questions, methods, numerical models, and spacecraft remote sensing experiments for Earth and the other planets, with the goal of identifying objectives for future research and missions. The conference is an opportunity for planetary scientists to survey current work on the best-studied terrestrial planet, and for climate scientists to reflect on how familiar processes on Earth produce such different outcomes in other “laboratories.”

General circulation models include ocean-atmosphere coupling, geochemical and biological impacts, the cycling of most important elements between atmospheric, surface and interior reservoirs, and isotopic fractionation. Accurate modeling of all these processes is supported by detailed in situ observations, measurements from orbit, and laboratory studies. In comparison, missions to the planets have produced sparse datasets, and only the broadest understanding of the climates of Venus, Mars, and Titan has been possible. Many of the questions that drive the study of Earth’s climate, however, are equally applicable to the other terrestrial planets in the solar system. The conference has four themes:

  • Climate and atmosphere
  • Clouds, hazes, and precipitation
  • Geology and climate
  • Solar-atmosphere interactions

Meeting Format

The conference will consist of invited and contributed oral presentations and contributed posters. The poster session will be preceded by two-minute poster summaries. Talks in the sessions will provide input for panel discussions at the end of each day. The broad issues that come out of the panel discussions will form the basis of the conference summary and guide the development of the edited University of Arizona Press volume, Comparative Climatology of Terrestrial Planets.

Future Announcements

Further details regarding the conference, including guidelines for abstract submission and registration, will be included in the second announcement, available on this website in February 2012. The deadline for abstract submission is April 12, 2012.

Indication of Interest

To subscribe to a mailing list to receive electronic reminders and special announcements relating to the meeting via e-mail, please submit an electronic Indication of Interest form by March 30, 2012.


For further information regarding the scientific content of the meeting:

Dr. Mark Bullock
Southwest Research Institute


Dr. Lori Glaze
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

For further information regarding meeting logistics or announcements:

Katy Buckaloo
Meeting and Publication Services
Universities Space Research Association (USRA)/
Lunar and Planetary Institute
Phone:  281-486-2106

For further information regarding abstract submission or registration:

Linda Tanner
Meeting and Publication Services
Universities Space Research Association (USRA)/
Lunar and Planetary Institute
Phone:  281-486-2142


Deadline for indication of interest March 30, 2012
Second announcement, including call for abstracts and registration, posted on this website February 27, 2012
Deadline for abstract submission April 12, 2012
Final announcement with program and abstracts posted on this website May 10, 2012
Conference on Comparative Climatology of Terrestrial Planets June 25–28, 2012

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