Geomorphic and stratigraphic studies of Mars prove extensive liquid
water flowed and pooled on the surface early in Mars’ history. Martian
paleoclimate models, however, have difficulty simulating climate
conditions warm enough to maintain liquid water on early Mars.
Reconciling the geologic record and paleoclimatic simulations of Mars is
critical to understanding Mars’ early history, atmospheric conditions,
and paleoclimate. This study uses an adapted lake energy balance model
to investigate the connections between Martian geology and climate. The
Lake Modeling on Mars for Atmospheric Reconstructions and Simulations
(LakeM2ARS) model is modified from an earth-based lake model to function
in Martian conditions. We use LakeM2ARS to investigate conditions
necessary to simulate a lake in Gale crater. Working at a localized
scale, we combine climate input from the Mars Weather Research &
Forecasting general circulation model with geologic constraints from
Curiosity rover observations; in doing so, we identify potential
climatic conditions required to maintain a seasonal liquid lake. We
successfully model lakes in Gale crater while varying initial climate
conditions, lake size, and water salinity. Our results show that
ice-free conditions in a plausible Gale crater lake are best supported
when the lake is small, ~10 m deep, and air temperatures
reach or are just above freezing seasonally during a Martian year.
Continued use and iteration of LakeM2ARS will strengthen connections
between Mars’ paleoclimate and geology to inform climate models and
enhance our understanding of conditions on early Mars.