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Characterization of clouds in Titan's tropical atmosphere

Griffith, Caitlin A. and Penteado, Paulo and Rodriguez, Sebastien and Le Mouélic, Stephane and Baines, Kevin H. and Buratti, Bonnie J. and Clark, Roger and Nicholson, Phil D. and Jaumann, Ralf and Sotin, Christophe (2009) Characterization of clouds in Titan's tropical atmosphere. The Astrophysical Journal, 702, pp. 105-109. American Astronomical Society. DOI: 10.1088/0004-637X/702/2/L105 ISSN 0004-637X

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Abstract

Images of Titan's clouds, possible over the past 10 years, indicate primarily discrete convective methane clouds near the south and north poles and an immense stratiform cloud, likely composed of ethane, around the north pole. Here we present spectral images from Cassini's Visual Mapping Infrared Spectrometer that reveal the increasing presence of clouds in Titan's tropical atmosphere. Radiative transfer analyses indicate similarities between summer polar and tropical methane clouds. Like their southern counterparts, tropical clouds consist of particles exceeding 5 μm. They display discrete structures suggestive of convective cumuli. They prevail at a specific latitude band between 8°-20° S, indicative of a circulation origin and the beginning of a circulation turnover. Yet, unlike the high latitude clouds that often reach 45 km altitude, these discrete tropical clouds, so far, remain capped to altitudes below 26 km. Such low convective clouds are consistent with the highly stable atmospheric conditions measured at the Huygens landing site. Their characteristics suggest that Titan's tropical atmosphere has a dry climate unlike the south polar atmosphere, and despite the numerous washes that carve the tropical landscape.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/61571/
Document Type:Article
Title:Characterization of clouds in Titan's tropical atmosphere
Authors:
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthors ORCID iD
Griffith, Caitlin A.Department of Planetary Sciences, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85719, USAUNSPECIFIED
Penteado, PauloDepartment of Planetary Sciences, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85719, USAUNSPECIFIED
Rodriguez, Sebastien Laboratoire AIM, Université Paris 7/CNRS/CEA-Saclay, DSM/IRFU/SAp, FranceUNSPECIFIED
Le Mouélic, StephaneLaboratoire de Planétologie et Géodynamique, CNRS, UMR-6112, Université de Nantes, 44000 Nantes, FranceUNSPECIFIED
Baines, Kevin H. Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA 91109, USAUNSPECIFIED
Buratti, Bonnie J. Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA 91109, USAUNSPECIFIED
Clark, Roger U.S. Geological Survey, Denver, CO 80225, USAUNSPECIFIED
Nicholson, Phil D.Department of Astronomy, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USAUNSPECIFIED
Jaumann, RalfUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Sotin, Christophe Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA 91109, USAUNSPECIFIED
Date:2009
Journal or Publication Title:The Astrophysical Journal
Refereed publication:Yes
Open Access:No
Gold Open Access:No
In SCOPUS:Yes
In ISI Web of Science:Yes
Volume:702
DOI :10.1088/0004-637X/702/2/L105
Page Range:pp. 105-109
Publisher:American Astronomical Society
ISSN:0004-637X
Status:Published
Keywords:convection, Titan, radiative transfer
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport (old)
HGF - Program:Space (old)
HGF - Program Themes:W EW - Erforschung des Weltraums
DLR - Research area:Space
DLR - Program:W EW - Erforschung des Weltraums
DLR - Research theme (Project):W - Vorhaben CASSINI (old)
Location: Berlin-Adlershof
Institutes and Institutions:Institute of Planetary Research
Deposited By: Pieth, Susanne
Deposited On:09 Dec 2009 13:20
Last Modified:06 Sep 2019 15:30

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