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Bézard Bruno, Vinatier Sandrine, Achterberg Richard K.

Seasonal radiative modeling of Titan's stratospheric temperatures at low latitudes

Icarus, 2018, vol. 302, pp. 437-450

Référence DOI : 10.1016/j.icarus.2017.11.034
Référence ADS : 2018Icar..302..437B

Résumé :

We have developed a seasonal radiative-dynamical model of Titan's stratosphere to investigate the temporal variation of temperatures in the 0.2-4 mbar range observed by the Cassini/CIRS spectrometer. The model incorporates gas and aerosol vertical profiles derived from Cassini/CIRS and Huygens/DISR data to calculate the radiative heating and cooling rate profiles as a function of time and latitude. At 20°S in 2007, the heating rate is larger than the cooling rate at all altitudes, and more specifically by 20-35% in the 0.1-5 mbar range. A new calculation of the radiative relaxation time as a function of pressure level is presented, leading to time constants significantly lower than previous estimates. At 6°N around spring equinox, the radiative equilibrium profile is warmer than the observed one at all levels. Adding adiabatic cooling in the energy equation, with a vertical upward velocity profile approximately constant in pressure coordinates below the 0.02-mbar level (corresponding to 0.03-0.05 cm s<SUP>-1</SUP> at 1 mbar), allows us to reproduce the observed profile quite well. The velocity profile above the ~0.5-mbar level is however affected by uncertainties in the haze density profile. The model shows that the change in insolation due to Saturn's orbital eccentricity is large enough to explain the observed 4-K decrease in equatorial temperatures around 1 mbar between 2009 and 2016. At 30°N and S, the radiative model predicts seasonal variations of temperature much larger than observed. A seasonal modulation of adiabatic cooling/heating is needed to reproduce the temperature variations observed from 2005 to 2016 between 0.2 and 4 mbar. At 1 mbar, the derived vertical velocities vary in the range -0.05 (winter solstice) to 0.16 (summer solstice) cm s<SUP>-1</SUP> at 30°S, -0.01 (winter solstice) to 0.14 (summer solstice) cm s<SUP>-1</SUP> at 30°N, and 0.03-0.07 cm s<SUP>-1</SUP> at the equator.

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