I understand localized Martian dust storms can develop into global wide events. All searches I do produce results that focus on local storms expanding. Is there any information on what was the shortest duration or smallest area dust storm recorded?

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    $\begingroup$ What do you consider a "dust storm?" Dust devils are on the scale of meters. $\endgroup$ Mar 8, 2020 at 5:50
  • $\begingroup$ Didn't know dust devils were considered storms. Researching this lead to an answer. $\endgroup$
    – Bob516
    Mar 8, 2020 at 13:10

1 Answer 1



Numerous dust storms occur each Martian year and are generally classified according to size. From the smallest to largest, they are dust devils (<10−1 km2), local storms (∼103 km2), regional storms (∼106 km2), and planet-encircling storms (>106 km2).

Local dust storms are also quite common. Based on Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) images, as many as 2000 local storms occur each Martian year. This gives a daily-averaged rate of 2–3 storms per Martian day. They have typical lifetimes of less than several days.

Regional storms have been observed at nearly all seasons, but are most frequent during southern spring and summer. Most regional storms develop within ±30° of latitude, although there is a distinct bias toward the southern hemisphere. Regional storms can last from days to weeks. These storms can drift a significant distance from their original location, and new satellite storms can develop that are quite remote from the original center.


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