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2002 .

(3 publications)

P. Rannou, F. Hourdin, and C. P. McKay. A wind origin for Titan's haze structure. Nature, 418:853-856, August 2002. [ bib | ADS link ]

Titan, the largest moon of Saturn, is the only satellite in the Solar System with a dense atmosphere. Titan's atmosphere is mainly nitrogen with a surface pressure of 1.5atmospheres and a temperature of 95K (ref. 1). A seasonally varying haze, which appears to be the main source of heating and cooling that drives atmospheric circulation, shrouds the moon. The haze has numerous features that have remained unexplained. There are several layers, including a `polar hood', and a pronounced hemispheric asymmetry. The upper atmosphere rotates much faster than the surface of the moon, and there is a significant latitudinal temperature asymmetry at the equinoxes. Here we describe a numerical simulation of Titan's atmosphere, which appears to explain the observed features of the haze. The critical new factor in our model is the coupling of haze formation with atmospheric dynamics, which includes a component of strong positive feedback between the haze and the winds.

E. Van den Acker, T. Van Hoolst, O. de Viron, P. Defraigne, F. Forget, F. Hourdin, and V. Dehant. Influence of the seasonal winds and the CO2 mass exchange between atmosphere and polar caps on Mars' rotation. Journal of Geophysical Research (Planets), 107:5055, July 2002. [ bib | DOI | ADS link ]

The Martian atmosphere and the CO2 polar ice caps exchange mass. This exchange, together with the atmospheric response to solar heating, induces variations of the rotation of Mars. Using the angular momentum budget equation of the system solid-Mars-atmosphere-polar ice caps, the variations of Mars' rotation can be deduced from the variations of the angular momentum of the superficial layer; this later is associated with the winds, that is, the motion term, and with the mass redistribution, that is, the matter term. For the “mean” Martian atmosphere, without global dust storms, total amplitudes of 10 cm on the surface are obtained for both the annual and semiannual polar motion excited by the atmosphere and ice caps. The atmospheric pressure variations are the dominant contribution to these amplitudes. Length-of-day (lod) variations have amplitudes of 0.253 ms for the annual signal and of 0.246 ms for the semiannual signal. The lod variations are mainly associated with changes in the atmospheric contribution to the mass term, partly compensated by the polar ice cap contribution. We computed lod variations and polar motion for three scenarios having different atmospheric dust contents. The differences between the three sets of results for lod variations are about one order of magnitude larger than the expected accuracy of the NEtlander Ionosphere and Geodesy Experiment (NEIGE) for lod. It will thus be possible to constrain the global atmospheric circulation models from the NEIGE measurements.

F. Hourdin, F. Couvreux, and L. Menut. Parameterization of the Dry Convective Boundary Layer Based on a Mass Flux Representation of Thermals. Journal of Atmospheric Sciences, 59:1105-1123, March 2002. [ bib | DOI | ADS link ]

Presented is a mass flux parameterization of vertical transport in the convective boundary layer. The formulation of the new parameterization is based on an idealization of thermal cells or rolls. The parameterization is validated by comparison to large eddy simulations (LES). It is also compared to classical boundary layer schemes on a documented case of a well-developed convective boundary layer observed in the Paris area during the Étude et Simulation de la Qualité de l'air en Ile de France (ESQUIF) campaign. For both LES and observations, the new scheme performs better at simulating entrainment fluxes at the top of the convective boundary layer and at near-surface conditions. The explicit representation of mass fluxes allows a direct comparison with campaign observations and opens interesting possibilities for coupling with clouds and deep convection schemes.

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