UE 10 – Climate systems and planetary surface evolution

Pluto’s atmosphere and glaciers revealed by space probe New Horizons (2015)

This interdisciplinary module (climatology/geology) aims to present the environments and atmospheres on different worlds of the solar system and to describe the physical processes that control climates and how they shape planetary surfaces. This allows to illustrate theoretical concepts with observed examples, while staying close to current research problems and debates.

The courses are given by research scientists specialists of the subjects : François Forget, Sandrine Guerlet, Jean-Baptiste Madeleine, Sébastien Lebonnois, Nicolas Mangold, Antoine Séjourné.


1 – The Martian Climate System
- Atmospheric dynamic
- The dust, water, CO2 climate cycles
- Mars’ paleoclimates

2- Climate-Surface interactions on Mars
Rappels de géomorphologie
- The Martian cryosphere through time. Outflow channels, glaciers, gullies.
- Fluvial erosion on early Mars (and Titan): geomorphology, mineralogy.

3- Pluto : a small frozen Mars ?

4- The climate of Vénus
Greenhouse effect, atmospheric dynamic and superrotation
- Clouds and the sulphur cycle

5- The climate of Titan, a moon of Saturn
Atmospheric dynamic and superrotation
- The hydrocarbon cycle: hazes, clouds, and lakes

6- The atmosphere of the giant planets : Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune
Thermal structure, clouds and atmospheric chemistry
- Atmospheric dynamic