THERMAL AND CHEMICAL STRUCTURE VARIATIONS IN TITAN'S STRATOSPHERE DURING THE CASSINI MISSION

Georgios Bampasidis*, A. Coustenis, R. K. Achterberg, S. Vinatier, P. Lavvas, C. A. Nixon, D. E. Jennings, N. A. Teanby, F. M. Flasar, R. C. Carlson, X. Moussas, P. Preka-Papadema, P. N. Romani, E. A. Guandique, S. Stamogiorgos

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We have developed a line-by-line Atmospheric Radiative Transfer for Titan code that includes the most recent laboratory spectroscopic data and haze descriptions relative to Titan's stratosphere. We use this code to model Cassini Composite Infrared Spectrometer data taken during the numerous Titan flybys from 2006 to 2012 at surface-intercepting geometry in the 600-1500 cm(-1) range for latitudes from 50 degrees S to 50 degrees N. We report variations in temperature and chemical composition in the stratosphere during the Cassini mission, before and after the Northern Spring Equinox (NSE). We find indication for a weakening of the temperature gradient with warming of the stratosphere and cooling of the lower mesosphere. In addition, we infer precise concentrations for the trace gases and their main isotopologues and find that the chemical composition in Titan's stratosphere varies significantly with latitude during the 6 years investigated here, with increased mixing ratios toward the northern latitudes. In particular, we monitor and quantify the amplitude of a maximum enhancement of several gases observed at northern latitudes up to 50 degrees N around mid-2009, at the time of the NSE. We find that this rise is followed by a rapid decrease in chemical inventory in 2010 probably due to a weakening north polar vortex with reduced lateral mixing across the vortex boundary.

Original languageEnglish
Article number144
Number of pages8
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Volume760
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2012

Keywords

  • infrared: planetary systems
  • planets and satellites: atmospheres
  • planets and satellites: composition
  • planets and satellites: individual (Titan)
  • radiation mechanisms: thermal
  • radiative transfer
  • COMPOSITE INFRARED SPECTROMETER
  • ATMOSPHERIC TEMPERATURES
  • SPECTROSCOPIC DATABASE
  • LATITUDINAL VARIATIONS
  • ISOTOPIC-RATIOS
  • HYDROCARBONS
  • SPECTRA
  • CIRS
  • HC3N
  • PROFILES

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