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Zorzano Mier, María-PazORCID iD iconorcid.org/0000-0002-4492-9650
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Publications (10 of 85) Show all publications
Fonseca, R., Zorzano Mier, M.-P., Azu-Bustos, A., González-Silva, C. & Martin-Torres, J. (2019). A surface temperature and moisture intercomparison study of the Weather Research and Forecasting model, in‐situ measurements and satellite observations over the Atacama Desert. Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, 145(722), 2202-2220
Open this publication in new window or tab >>A surface temperature and moisture intercomparison study of the Weather Research and Forecasting model, in‐situ measurements and satellite observations over the Atacama Desert
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2019 (English)In: Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, ISSN 0035-9009, E-ISSN 1477-870X, Vol. 145, no 722, p. 2202-2220Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Good knowledge of the environmental conditions of deserts on Earth is relevant forclimate studies. The Atacama Desert is of particular interest as it is considered tobe the driest region on Earth. We have performed simulations using the WeatherResearch and Forecasting (WRF) model over the Atacama Desert for two week-longperiods in the austral winter season coincident with surface temperature and relativehumidity in-situ observations at three sites. We found that the WRF model generallyoverestimates the daytime surface temperature, with biases of up to 11◦C, despitegiving a good simulation of the relative humidity. In order to improve the agree-ment with observed measurements, we conducted sensitivity experiments in whichthe surface albedo, soil moisture content and five tuneable parameters in the NoahLand Surface Model (namely soil porosity, soil suction, saturated soil hydraulic con-ductivity, thebparameter used in hydraulic functions and the quartz fraction) areperturbed. We concluded that an accurate simulation is not possible, most likelybecause the Noah Land Surface Model does not have a groundwater table that maybe shallow in desert regions. The WRF-predicted land surface temperature is alsoevaluated against that estimated from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectrora-diometer (MODIS) instrument. While at night the satellite-derived and ground-basedmeasurements are generally in agreement, during the day MODIS estimates aretypically lower by as much as 17◦C. This is attributed to the large uncertainty inthe MODIS-estimated land surface temperatures in arid and semi-arid regions. Thefindings of this work highlight the need for ground-based observational networksin remote regions such as the Atacama Desert where satellite-derived and modelproducts may not be very accurate.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
John Wiley & Sons, 2019
National Category
Aerospace Engineering
Research subject
Atmospheric science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-74607 (URN)10.1002/qj.3553 (DOI)000479030200022 ()2-s2.0-85066103855 (Scopus ID)
Note

Validerad;2019;Nivå 2;2019-08-14 (johcin)

Available from: 2019-06-17 Created: 2019-06-17 Last updated: 2019-08-28Bibliographically approved
Navarro‐González, R., Navarro, K. F., Coll, P., McKay, C. P., Stern, J. C., Sutter, B., . . . Vasavada, A. R. (2019). Abiotic Input of Fixed Nitrogen by Bolide Impacts to Gale Crater During the Hesperian: Insights From the Mars Science Laboratory. Journal of Geophysical Research - Planets, 124(1), 94-113
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Abiotic Input of Fixed Nitrogen by Bolide Impacts to Gale Crater During the Hesperian: Insights From the Mars Science Laboratory
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2019 (English)In: Journal of Geophysical Research - Planets, ISSN 2169-9097, E-ISSN 2169-9100, Vol. 124, no 1, p. 94-113Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Molecular hydrogen (H2) from volcanic emissions is suggested to warm the Martian surface when carbon dioxide (CO2) levels dropped from the Noachian (4100 to 3700 Myr) to the Hesperian (3700 to 3000 Myr). Its presence is expected to shift the conversion of molecular nitrogen (N2) into different forms of fixed nitrogen (N). Here we present experimental data and theoretical calculations that investigate the efficiency of nitrogen fixation by bolide impacts in CO2‐N2 atmospheres with or without H2. Surprisingly, nitric oxide (NO) was produced more efficiently in 20% H2 in spite of being a reducing agent and not likely to increase the rate of nitrogen oxidation. Nevertheless, its presence led to a faster cooling of the shock wave raising the freeze‐out temperature of NO resulting in an enhanced yield. We estimate that the nitrogen fixation rate by bolide impacts varied from 7 × 10−4 to 2 × 10−3 g N·Myr−1·cm−2 and could imply fluvial concentration to explain the nitrogen (1.4 ± 0.7 g N·Myr−1·cm−2) detected as nitrite (NO2−) and nitrate (NO3−) by Curiosity at Yellowknife Bay. One possible explanation is that the nitrogen detected in the lacustrine sediments at Gale was deposited entirely on the crater's surface and was subsequently dissolved and transported by superficial and ground waters to the lake during favorable wet climatic conditions. The nitrogen content sharply decreases in younger sediments of the Murray formation suggesting a decline of H2 in the atmosphere and the rise of oxidizing conditions causing a shortage in the supply to putative microbial life.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
John Wiley & Sons, 2019
Keywords
Mars, nitrogen fixation, nitrates, bolide impacts, Gale crater, Curiosity
National Category
Aerospace Engineering
Research subject
Atmospheric science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-73031 (URN)10.1029/2018JE005852 (DOI)000459245700006 ()2-s2.0-85059967560 (Scopus ID)
Note

Validerad;2019;Nivå 2;2019-02-27 (johcin)

Available from: 2019-02-27 Created: 2019-02-27 Last updated: 2019-10-10Bibliographically approved
Azua-Bustos, A., González-Silva, C., Fernández-Martínez, M. Á., Arenas-Fajardo, C., Fonseca, R., Martin-Torres, J., . . . Zorzano Mier, M.-P. (2019). Aeolian transport of viable microbial life across the Atacama Desert, Chile: Implications for Mars. Scientific Reports, 9, Article ID 11024.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Aeolian transport of viable microbial life across the Atacama Desert, Chile: Implications for Mars
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2019 (English)In: Scientific Reports, ISSN 2045-2322, E-ISSN 2045-2322, Vol. 9, article id 11024Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Here we inspect whether microbial life may disperse using dust transported by wind in the Atacama Desert in northern Chile, a well-known Mars analog model. By setting a simple experiment across the hyperarid core of the Atacama we found that a number of viable bacteria and fungi are in fact able to traverse the driest and most UV irradiated desert on Earth unscathed using wind-transported dust, particularly in the later afternoon hours. This finding suggests that microbial life on Mars, extant or past, may have similarly benefited from aeolian transport to move across the planet and find suitable habitats to thrive and evolve.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer, 2019
National Category
Microbiology Aerospace Engineering
Research subject
Atmospheric science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-75664 (URN)10.1038/s41598-019-47394-z (DOI)000482181700001 ()31439858 (PubMedID)2-s2.0-85071189771 (Scopus ID)
Note

Validerad;2019;Nivå 2;2019-08-27 (johcin)

Available from: 2019-08-22 Created: 2019-08-22 Last updated: 2019-09-09Bibliographically approved
Bhardwaj, A., Sam, L., Martin-Torres, J. & Zorzano Mier, M.-P. (2019). Are Slope Streaks Indicative of Global‐Scale Aqueous Processes on Contemporary Mars?. Reviews of geophysics, 57(1), 48-77
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Are Slope Streaks Indicative of Global‐Scale Aqueous Processes on Contemporary Mars?
2019 (English)In: Reviews of geophysics, ISSN 8755-1209, E-ISSN 1944-9208, Vol. 57, no 1, p. 48-77Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Slope streaks are prevalent and intriguing dark albedo surface features on contemporary Mars. Slope streaks are readily observed in the equatorial and subequatorial dusty regolith regions with low thermal inertia. They gradually fade over decadal timescales. The proposed mechanisms for their formation vary widely based on several physicochemical and geomorphological explanations. The scientific community is divided in proposing both dry and wet mechanisms for the formation of slope streaks. Here we perform a systematic evaluation of the literature for these wet and dry mechanisms. We discuss the probable constraints on the various proposed mechanisms and provide perspectives on the plausible process driving global‐scale slope streak formation on contemporary Mars. Although per our understanding, a thorough consideration of the global distribution of slope streaks, their morphology and topography, flow characteristics, physicochemical and atmospheric coincidences, and terrestrial analogies weighs more in favor of several wet mechanisms, we acknowledge that such wet mechanisms cannot explain all the reported morphological and terrain variations of slope streaks. Thus, we suggest that explanations considering both dry and wet processes can more holistically describe all the observed morphological variations among slope streaks. We further acknowledge the constraints on the resolutions of remote sensing data and on our understanding of the Martian mineralogy, climate, and atmosphere and recommend continuous investigations in this direction using future remote sensing acquisitions and simulations. In this regard, finding more wet and dry terrestrial analogs for Martian slope streaks and studying them at high spatiotemporal resolutions can greatly improve our understanding.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
American Geophysical Union (AGU), 2019
Keywords
slope streaks, water activity, Mars, formation mechanism, deliquescence
National Category
Aerospace Engineering
Research subject
Atmospheric science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-73724 (URN)10.1029/2018RG000617 (DOI)000463995400003 ()2-s2.0-85059686126 (Scopus ID)
Note

Validerad;2019;Nivå 2;2019-04-12 (oliekm)

Available from: 2019-04-23 Created: 2019-04-23 Last updated: 2019-10-10Bibliographically approved
Israel Nazarious, M., Vakkada Ramachandran, A., Zorzano, M.-P. & Martin-Torres, J. (2019). Calibration and preliminary tests of the Brine Observation Transition To Liquid Experiment on HABIT/ExoMars 2020 for demonstration of liquid water stability on Mars. Acta Astronautica, 162, 497-510
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Calibration and preliminary tests of the Brine Observation Transition To Liquid Experiment on HABIT/ExoMars 2020 for demonstration of liquid water stability on Mars
2019 (English)In: Acta Astronautica, ISSN 0094-5765, E-ISSN 1879-2030, Vol. 162, p. 497-510Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The search for unequivocal proofs of liquid water on present day Mars is a prominent domain of research with implications on habitability and future Mars exploration. The HABIT (Habitability: Brines, Irradiation, and Temperature) instrument that will be on-board the ExoMars 2020 Surface Platform (ESA-IKI Roscosmos) will investigate the habitability of present day Mars, monitoring temperature, winds, dust conductivity, ultraviolet radiation and liquid water formation. One of the components of HABIT is the experiment BOTTLE (Brine Observation Transition To Liquid Experiment). The purposes of BOTTLE are to: (1) quantify the formation of transient liquid brines; (2) observe their stability over time under non-equilibrium conditions; and (3) serve as an In-Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) technology demonstrator for water moisture capture. In this manuscript, we describe the calibration procedure of BOTTLE with standard concentrations of brines, the calibration function and the coefficients needed to interpret the observations on Mars.

BOTTLE consists of six containers: four of them are filled with different deliquescent salts that have been found on Mars (calcium-perchlorate, magnesium-perchlorate, calcium-chloride, and sodium-perchlorate); and two containers that are open to the air, to collect atmospheric dust. The salts are exposed to the Martian environment through a high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter (to comply with planetary protection protocols). The deliquescence process will be monitored by observing the changes in electrical conductivity (EC) in each container: dehydrated salts show low EC, hydrated salts show medium EC and, liquid brines show high EC values. We report and interpret the preliminary test results using the BOTTLE engineering model in representative conditions; and we discuss how this concept can be adapted to other exploration missions.

Our laboratory observations show that 1.2 g of anhydrous calcium-chloride captures about 3.7 g of liquid water as brine passing through various possible hydrate forms. This ISRU technology could potentially be the first attempt to understand the formation of transient liquid water on Mars and to develop self-sustaining in-situ water harvesting on Mars for future human and robotic missions.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2019
Keywords
Water on Mars, Deliquescence, Electrical conductivity, Instrument, ISRU, Mars exploration
National Category
Aerospace Engineering
Research subject
Atmospheric science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-75252 (URN)10.1016/j.actaastro.2019.06.026 (DOI)2-s2.0-85068571913 (Scopus ID)
Note

Validerad;2019;Nivå 2;2019-08-22 (johcin)

Available from: 2019-07-08 Created: 2019-07-08 Last updated: 2019-08-22Bibliographically approved
Escamilla-Roa, E., Zorzano, M.-P., Martin-Torres, J., Hernäandez-Laguna, A. & Sainz-Diaz, C. (2019). DFT study of electronic and redox properties of TiO2 supported on olivine for modelling regolith on Moon and Mars conditions. Planetary and Space Science
Open this publication in new window or tab >>DFT study of electronic and redox properties of TiO2 supported on olivine for modelling regolith on Moon and Mars conditions
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2019 (English)In: Planetary and Space Science, ISSN 0032-0633, E-ISSN 1873-5088Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

Titanium dioxide TiO2 is one of the most studied oxides in photocatalysis, due to its electronic structure and its wide variety of applications, such as gas sensors and biomaterials, and especially in methane-reforming catalysis. Titanium dioxide and olivine have been detected both on Mars and our Moon. It has been postulated that on Mars photocatalytic processes may be relevant for atmospheric methane fluctuation, radicals and perchlorate productions etc. However, to date no investigation has been devoted to modelling the properties of TiO2 adsorbed on olivine surface.

The goal of this study is to investigate at atomic level with electronic structure calculations based on the Density Functional Theory (DFT), the atomic interactions that take place during the adsorption processes for formation of a TiO regolith. This model is formed with different TiO films adsorbed on olivine (forsterite) surfaces, one of the most common minerals in Universe, Earth, Mars, cometary and interstellar dust. We propose three regolith models to simulate the principal phase of titanium oxide (TiO, Ti2O3 and TiO2). The models show different adsorption processes i.e. physisorption and chemisorption. Our results suggest that the TiO is the most reactive phase and produces a strong exothermic effect. Besides, we have detailed, from a theoretical point of view, the effect that has the adsorption process in the electronic properties such as electronic density of state (DOS) and oxide reduction process (redox). This theoretical study can be important to understand the formation of new materials (supports) that can be used as support in the catalytic processes that occur in the Earth, Mars and Moon. Also, it may be important to interpret the present day photochemistry and interaction of regolith and airborne aerosols in the atmosphere on Mars or to define possible catalytic reactions of the volatiles captured on the Moon regolith.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2019
Keywords
TiO2 regolith, Surfaces forsterite, Olivine, Anatase, Adsorption process, Chemisorption, Physisorption, Electronic density of state (DOS), Redox process, Density functional theory (DFT)
National Category
Chemical Sciences Aerospace Engineering
Research subject
Atmospheric science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-76123 (URN)10.1016/j.pss.2019.104760 (DOI)
Available from: 2019-09-26 Created: 2019-09-26 Last updated: 2019-10-07
Bhardwaj, A., Sam, L., Martin-Torres, J. & Zorzano Mier, M.-P. (2019). Discovery of recurring slope lineae candidates in Mawrth Vallis, Mars. Scientific Reports, 9, Article ID 2040.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Discovery of recurring slope lineae candidates in Mawrth Vallis, Mars
2019 (English)In: Scientific Reports, ISSN 2045-2322, E-ISSN 2045-2322, Vol. 9, article id 2040Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

utside of established RSL regions and further prompt the inclusion of a new geographical region within the RSL candidate group. Our inferences on the RSL candidates are based on several morphological and geophysical evidences and analogies: (i) the dimensions of the RSL candidates are consistent with confirmed mid-latitude RSL; (ii) albedo and thermal inertia values are comparable to those of other mid-latitude RSL sites; and (iii) features are found in a summer season image and on the steep and warmest slopes. These results denote the plausible presence of transient liquid brines close to the previously proposed landing ellipse of the ExoMars rover, rendering this site particularly relevant to the search of life. Further investigations of Mawrth Vallis carried out at higher spatial and temporal resolutions are needed to identify more of such features at local scales to maximize the scientific return from the future Mars rovers, to prevent probable biological contamination during rover operations, to evade damage to rover components as brines can be highly corrosive, and to quantify the ability of the regolith at mid-latitudes to capture atmospheric water which is relevant for in-situ-resource utilization.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Nature Publishing Group, 2019
National Category
Astronomy, Astrophysics and Cosmology Aerospace Engineering
Research subject
Atmospheric science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-72894 (URN)10.1038/s41598-019-39599-z (DOI)000458619600040 ()2-s2.0-85061571667 (Scopus ID)
Note

Validerad;2019;Nivå 2;2019-02-27 (johcin)

Available from: 2019-02-14 Created: 2019-02-14 Last updated: 2019-02-27Bibliographically approved
Bhardwaj, A., Sam, L., Martin-Torres, J. & Zorzano Mier, M.-P. (2019). Distribution and Morphologies of Transverse Aeolian Ridges in ExoMars 2020 Rover Landing Site. Remote Sensing, 11(8), Article ID 912.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Distribution and Morphologies of Transverse Aeolian Ridges in ExoMars 2020 Rover Landing Site
2019 (English)In: Remote Sensing, ISSN 2072-4292, E-ISSN 2072-4292, Vol. 11, no 8, article id 912Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Aeolian processes are believed to play a major role in the landscape evolution of Mars. Investigations on Martian aeolian landforms such as ripples, transverse aeolian ridges (TARs), and dunes, and aeolian sediment flux measurements are important to enhance our understanding of past and present wind regimes, the ongoing dust cycle, landscape evolution, and geochemistry. These aeolian bedforms are often comprised of loose sand and sharply undulating topography and thus pose a threat to mobility and maneuvers of Mars rovers. Here we present a first-hand account of the distribution, morphologies, and morphometrics of TARs in Oxia Planum, the recently selected ExoMars 2020 Rover landing site. The gridded mapping was performed for contiguous stretches of TARs within all the landing ellipses using 57 sub-meter high resolution imaging science experiment (HiRISE) scenes. We also provide the morphological descriptions for all types of TARs present within the landing ellipses. We use HiRISE digital terrain models (DTMs) along with the images to derive morphometric information for TARs in Oxia Planum. In general, the average areal TAR coverage was found to be 5.4% (±4.9% standard deviation), increasing from west to east within the landing ellipses. We report the average TAR morphometrics in the form of crest–ridge width (131.1 ± 106.2 m), down-wind TAR length (17.6 ± 10.1 m), wavelength (37.3 ± 11.6 m), plan view aspect ratio (7.1 ± 2.3), inter-bedform spacing (2.1 ± 1.1), slope (10.6° ± 6.1°), predominant orientations (NE-SW and E-W), and height (1.2 ± 0.8 m). While simple TARs are predominant, we report other TAR morphologies such as forked TAR, wavy TAR with associated smaller secondary ripples, barchan-like TAR, networked TAR, and mini-TARs from the region. Our results can help in planning the rover traverses in terms of both safe passage and scientific returns favoring aeolian research, particularly improving our understanding of TARs.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
MDPI, 2019
Keywords
transverse aeolian ridge (TAR), ExoMars 2020, Oxia Planum, HiRISE, mapping
National Category
Physical Sciences Astronomy, Astrophysics and Cosmology
Research subject
Atmospheric science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-73660 (URN)10.3390/rs11080912 (DOI)000467646800022 ()2-s2.0-85065019154 (Scopus ID)
Note

Validerad;2019;Nivå 2;2019-05-29 (oliekm)

Available from: 2019-04-15 Created: 2019-04-15 Last updated: 2019-08-19Bibliographically approved
Pandey, S., Clarke, J., Nema, P., Bonaccorsi, R., Som, S., Sharma, M., . . . Bapat, N. (2019). Ladakh: Diverse, high-altitude extreme environments for off-earth analogue and astrobiology research. International Journal of Astrobiology
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Ladakh: Diverse, high-altitude extreme environments for off-earth analogue and astrobiology research
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2019 (English)In: International Journal of Astrobiology, ISSN 1473-5504, E-ISSN 1475-3006Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

This paper highlights unique sites in Ladakh, India, investigated during our 2016 multidisciplinary pathfinding expedition to the region. We summarize our scientific findings and the site's potential to support science exploration, testing of new technologies and science protocols within the framework of astrobiology research. Ladakh has several accessible, diverse, pristine and extreme environments at very high altitudes (3000–5700 m above sea level). These sites include glacial passes, sand dunes, hot springs and saline lake shorelines with periglacial features. We report geological observations and environmental characteristics (of astrobiological significance) along with the development of regolith-landform maps for cold high passes. The effects of the diurnal water cycle on salt deliquescence were studied using the ExoMars Mission instrument mockup: HabitAbility: Brines, Irradiance and Temperature (HABIT). It recorded the existence of an interaction between the diurnal water cycle in the atmosphere and salts in the soil (which can serve as habitable liquid water reservoirs). Life detection assays were also tested to establish the best protocols for biomass measurements in brines, periglacial ice-mud and permafrost melt water environments in the Tso-Kar region. This campaign helped confirm the relevance of clays and brines as interest targets of research on Mars for biomarker preservation and life detection.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Cambridge University Press, 2019
National Category
Aerospace Engineering
Research subject
Atmospheric science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-75165 (URN)10.1017/S1473550419000119 (DOI)
Available from: 2019-07-01 Created: 2019-07-01 Last updated: 2019-07-12
Guzewich, S. D., Lemmon, M., Smith, C., Martínez, G., de Vicente‐Retortillo, Á., Newman, C. E., . . . Zorzano Mier, M.-P. (2019). Mars Science Laboratory Observations of the 2018/Mars Year 34 Global Dust Storm. Geophysical Research Letters, 46(1), 71-79
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Mars Science Laboratory Observations of the 2018/Mars Year 34 Global Dust Storm
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2019 (English)In: Geophysical Research Letters, ISSN 0094-8276, E-ISSN 1944-8007, Vol. 46, no 1, p. 71-79Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover observations of the 2018/Mars year 34 global/planet‐encircling dust storm represent the first in situ measurements of a global dust storm with dedicated meteorological sensors since the Viking Landers. The Mars Science Laboratory team planned and executed a science campaign lasting approximately 100 Martian sols to study the storm involving an enhanced cadence of environmental monitoring using the rover's meteorological sensors, cameras, and spectrometers. Mast Camera 880‐nm optical depth reached 8.5, and Rover Environmental Monitoring Station measurements indicated a 97% reduction in incident total ultraviolet solar radiation at the surface, 30K reduction in diurnal range of air temperature, and an increase in the semidiurnal pressure tide amplitude to 40 Pa. No active dust‐lifting sites were detected within Gale Crater, and global and local atmospheric dynamics were drastically altered during the storm. This work presents an overview of the mission's storm observations and initial results.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
American Geophysical Union (AGU), 2019
National Category
Aerospace Engineering
Research subject
Atmospheric science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-72745 (URN)10.1029/2018GL080839 (DOI)000456938600009 ()2-s2.0-85059536242 (Scopus ID)
Note

Validerad;2019;Nivå 2;2019-01-31 (johcin)

Available from: 2019-01-31 Created: 2019-01-31 Last updated: 2019-10-10Bibliographically approved
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ORCID iD: ORCID iD iconorcid.org/0000-0002-4492-9650

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