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Mars is warming too

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Shifting dust storms on Mars might be contributing to global warming there that is shrinking the planet's southern polar ice caps, scientists say.

Computer simulations similar to those used to predict weather here on Earth show that the bright, windblown dust and sand particles affects MarsÔÇÖ albedoÔÇöthe amount of sunlight reflected from the planetÔÇÖs surface.

The research, detailed in the April 5 issue of the journal Nature, suggests these albedo variations play an important role in the climate of Mars. It could also potentially explain how global dust storms are triggered on the red planet.

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