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Dissipation of Titans north polar cloud at northern spring equinox

By:
, , , , , , , , , , , , and
DOI: 10.1016/j.pss.2011.04.006

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Abstract

Saturns Moon Titan has a thick atmosphere with a meteorological cycle. We report on the evolution of the giant cloud system covering its north pole using observations acquired by the Visual and Infrared Mapping Spectrometer onboard the Cassini spacecraft. A radiative transfer model in spherical geometry shows that the clouds are found at an altitude between 30 and 65 km. We also show that the polar cloud system vanished progressively as Titan approached equinox in August 2009, revealing at optical wavelengths the underlying sea known as Kraken Mare. This decrease of activity suggests that the north-polar downwelling has begun to shut off. Such a scenario is compared with the Titan global circulation model of Rannou et al. (2006), which predicts a decrease of cloud coverage in northern latitudes at the same period of time. ?? 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Conference Paper
Publication Subtype:
Conference Paper
Title:
Dissipation of Titans north polar cloud at northern spring equinox
DOI:
10.1016/j.pss.2011.04.006
Volume
60
Issue:
1
Year Published:
2012
Language:
English
Larger Work Title:
Planetary and Space Science
First page:
86
Last page:
92
Number of Pages:
7