ESA’s Mars Express probe has been keeping an eye on local and regional dust storms that have been brewing at the Red Planet’s north pole over the past month, watching them dissipate toward the equator.

Confined to small areas and common locations on Mars, local and regional storms last for a few days or weeks, but at their peak they can engulf the entire planet, such as last year when a global storm enveloped the entire planet for many months.

It is currently spring in the northern hemisphere of Mars, and clouds of water ice and small dust-lifting events are frequently observed along the edge of the polar ice cap during its seasonal retreat.

Many of the spacecraft on Mars report daily weather reports from orbit or from the surface, providing global and local information on changing weather conditions. ESA’s Mars Express observed at least eight different storms on the edge of the polar ice cap between May 22 and June 10, which formed and dissipated very quickly, over the course of one to three days.

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