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Science File | In Brief

Global Warming Strikes Another Planet: Mars

July 23, 2001

The average global temperature on Mars has increased 50 degrees in the last month, according to readings taken by NASA's Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft. The cause was a dust storm that began in the planet's lower latitudes. The dust trapped sunlight and heated the air locally, according to a team from Arizona State University. As this air flowed to regions where air was still cool, it kicked up more dust until most of the planet was enveloped. Researchers believe that the dust will eventually reflect sunlight and cause the atmosphere to cool.

Compiled by Times medical writer Thomas H. Maugh II

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