Liam SteelePostdoctoral Scholar



I obtained a BSc in physics (2009) and a PhD in planetary science (2014) from the Open University in the UK. I then stayed at the Open University as a postdoc, where I researched how Mars’ climate (and in particular the water abundance) has varied over the past 20 million years. In February 2017 I moved to the University of Chicago as a postdoc in the Planetary Sciences and Cosmochemistry group.

Research Interests

I like anything with an atmosphere, so the Earth, Mars, the gas giants and even exoplanets. Mars is particularly cool though, as it has gigantic extinct volcanoes, massive impact craters, ice caps, clouds, dust storms, dust devils, evidence for liquid water in the past... I could go on! I am currently researching the formation of mounds in craters on Mars. Such a sedimentary mound is visible in Gale crater (the location of the Curiosity rover, which is currently trundling along, trying to determine if Mars was ever habitable), and their formation is not yet understood. I also like tortoises, playing the guitar and the film Tremors (a modern-day classic).

Selected Publications

Steele, L. J., Balme, M., Lewis, S. R. and Spiga, A. (2017) The water cycle and regolith-atmosphere interaction at Gale crater, Mars. Icarus, 289, 56-79.
Chapman, R. M., Lewis, S. R., Balme, M. and Steele, L. J. (2017) Diurnal variation in martian dust devil activity. Icarus, doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2017.01.003.
Steele, L. J., Balme, M. and Lewis, S. R. (2017) Regolith-atmosphere exchange of water in Mars' recent past. Icarus, 284, 233–248.
Steele, L. J., Lewis, S. R. and Patel, M. R. (2014) The radiative impact of water ice clouds from a reanalysis of Mars Climate Sounder data. Geophysical Research Letters, 41(13), 4471–4478.
Steele, L. J., Lewis, S. R., Patel, M. R., Montmessin, F., Forget, F. and Smith, M. D. (2014) The seasonal cycle of water vapour on Mars from assimilation of Thermal Emission Spectrometer data. Icarus, 237, 97–115.