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2003 .

(3 publications)

D. Luz, F. Hourdin, P. Rannou, and S. Lebonnois. Latitudinal transport by barotropic waves in Titan's stratosphere.. II. Results from a coupled dynamics-microphysics-photochemistry GCM. Icarus, 166:343-358, December 2003. [ bib | DOI | ADS link ]

We present a 2D general circulation model of Titan's atmosphere, coupling axisymmetric dynamics with haze microphysics, a simplified photochemistry and eddy mixing. We develop a parameterization of latitudinal eddy mixing by barotropic waves based on a shallow-water, longitude-latitude model. The parameterization acts locally and in real time both on passive tracers and momentum. The mixing coefficient varies exponentially with a measure of the barotropic instability of the mean zonal flow. The coupled GCM approximately reproduces the Voyager temperature measurements and the latitudinal contrasts in the distributions of HCN and C 2H 2, as well as the main features of the zonal wind retrieved from the 1989 stellar occultation. Wind velocities are consistent with the observed reversal time of the North-South albedo asymmetry of 5 terrestrial years. Model results support the hypothesis of a non-uniform distribution of infrared opacity as the cause of the Voyager temperature asymmetry. Transport by the mean meridional circulation, combined with polar vortex isolation may be at the origin of the latitudinal contrasts of trace species, with eddy mixing remaining restricted to low latitudes most of the Titan year. We interpret the contrasts as a signature of non-axisymmetric motions.

D. Luz and F. Hourdin. Latitudinal transport by barotropic waves in Titan's stratosphere.. I. General properties from a horizontal shallow-water model. Icarus, 166:328-342, December 2003. [ bib | DOI | ADS link ]

We present a numerical study of barotropic waves in Titan's stratosphere based on a shallow-water model. The forcing of the zonal flow by the mean meridional circulation is represented by a relaxation towards a barotropically unstable wind profile. The relaxation profile is consistent with observations and with previous results from a 3D general circulation model. The time constant of the forcing that best matches the northward eddy-transport of zonal momentum from the 3D model is τ5 Titan days. The eddy wind field is a zonal wavenumber-2 wave with a peak amplitude about 10% of the mean wind speed. The latitudinal transport of angular momentum by the wave tends to keep the flow close to marginal stability by carrying momentum upgradient, from the core of the jets into the low latitudes. Although the strongest eddy motions occur at the latitudes of the wind maxima, the strongest mixing takes place at the barotropically unstable regions, close to 30deg and spanning about 30deg in latitude. An eddy-mixing time constant of the order of 1 Titan day is inferred within these regions, and of a few tens of days within regions of stable flow. Horizontal gradients in transient tracer fields are less than 10% of the latitudinal gradient of the meridional tracer profile. Cassini's detection of such waves could provide a direct observation of wind speeds at stratospheric levels.

S. Lebonnois, F. Hourdin, P. Rannou, D. Luz, and D. Toublanc. Impact of the seasonal variations of composition on the temperature field of Titan's stratosphere. Icarus, 163:164-174, May 2003. [ bib | DOI | ADS link ]

We investigate the role of seasonal variations of Titan's stratospheric composition on the temperature. We use a general circulation model coupled with idealized chemical tracers that reproduce variations of ethane (C 2H 6), acetylene (C 2H 2), and hydrogen cyanide (HCN). Enhancement of the mole fractions of these compounds, at high latitudes in the winter hemisphere relative to their equatorial values, induces a relative decrease in temperature above approximately 0.2 mbar, with a peak amplitude around -20 K, and a relative increase in temperature below, around 1 mbar, with a peak amplitude around +7 K. These thermal effects are mainly due to the variations of the cooling to space induced by the varying distributions. The ethane, acetylene, and hydrogen cyanide variations affect the cooling rates in a similar way, with the dominant effect being due to ethane, though its latitudinal variations are small.

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