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2004 .

(3 publications)

F. Hourdin, S. Lebonnois, D. Luz, and P. Rannou. Titan's stratospheric composition driven by condensation and dynamics. Journal of Geophysical Research (Planets), 109:12005, December 2004. [ bib | DOI | ADS link ]

Atmospheric transport of chemical compounds and organic haze in the stratosphere of Titan is investigated with an axisymmetric general circulation model. It has been shown previously that the meridional circulation, dominated by global Hadley cells, is responsible both for the creation of an intense stratospheric zonal flow and for the accumulation of chemical compounds and haze in high latitudes. The modified composition in turn intensifies the meridional circulation and equator-to-pole thermal contrasts. This paper analyzes in detail the transport processes responsible for the observed vertical and latitudinal variations of atmospheric composition. It is shown that the competition between rapid sinking of air from the upper stratosphere in the winter polar vortex and latitudinal mixing by barotropic planetary waves (parameterized in the model) controls the vertical gradient of chemical compounds. The magnitude of polar enrichment (of a factor 1.4 to 20 depending on the particular species) with respect to low latitudes is mostly controlled by the way the meridional advection increases the concentrations of chemical compounds in the clean air which is rising from the troposphere, where most of the chemical compounds are removed by condensation (the temperature at the tropopause being close to 70 K). The agreement between the observed and simulated contrasts provides an indirect but strong validation of the simulated dynamics, thus confirming the explanation put forward for atmospheric superrotation. It is shown also that by measuring the atmospheric composition, the Cassini-Huygens mission will provide a strong constraint about Titan's atmospheric circulation.

P. Rannou, F. Hourdin, C. P. McKay, and D. Luz. A coupled dynamics-microphysics model of Titan's atmosphere. Icarus, 170:443-462, August 2004. [ bib | DOI | ADS link ]

We have developed a coupled general circulation model of Titan's atmosphere in which the aerosol haze is treated with a microphysical model and is advected by the winds. The radiative transfer accounts for the non uniform haze distribution and, in turn, drives the dynamics. We analyze the GCM results, especially focusing on the difference between a uniform haze layer and a haze layer coupled to the dynamics. In the coupled simulation the aerosols tend to accumulate at the poles, at latitudes higher than 60deg. During winter, aerosols strongly radiate at thermal infrared wavelengths enhancing the cooling rate near the pole. Since this tends to increase the latitudinal gradients of temperature the direct effect of this cooling excess, in contrast to the uncoupled haze case, is to increase the strength of the meridional cells as well as the strength of the zonal winds and profile. This is a positive feedback of the haze on dynamics. The coupled model reproduces observations about the state of the atmosphere better than the uniform haze model, and in addition, the northern polar hood and the detached haze are qualitatively reproduced.

D. A. Hauglustaine, F. Hourdin, L. Jourdain, M.-A. Filiberti, S. Walters, J.-F. Lamarque, and E. A. Holland. Interactive chemistry in the Laboratoire de Météorologie Dynamique general circulation model: Description and background tropospheric chemistry evaluation. Journal of Geophysical Research (Atmospheres), 109:4314, February 2004. [ bib | DOI | ADS link ]

We provide a description and evaluation of LMDz-INCA, which couples the Laboratoire de Météorologie Dynamique general circulation model (LMDz) and the Interaction with Chemistry and Aerosols (INCA) model. In this first version of the model a CH4-NOx-CO-O3 chemical scheme representative of the background chemistry of the troposphere is considered. We derive rapid interhemispheric exchange times of 1.13-1.38 years and 0.70-0.82 years, based on surface and pressure-weighted mixing ratios of inert tracers, respectively. The general patterns of the nitrogen deposition are correctly reproduced by the model. However, scavenging processes remain a major source of uncertainty in current models, with convective precipitation playing a key role in the global distribution of soluble species. The global and annual mean methane (7.9 years) and methylchloroform (4.6 years) chemical lifetimes suggest that OH is too high by about 19-25% in the model. This disagreement with previous estimates is attributed to the missing nonmethane hydrocarbons in this version of the model. The model simulates quite satisfactorily the distribution and seasonal cycle of CO at most stations. At several tropical sites and in the Northern Hemisphere during summer, the OH overestimate leads, however, to a too intense CO chemical destruction. LMDz-INCA reproduces fairly well the distribution of ozone throughout most of the troposphere. A main disagreement appears in the Northern Hemisphere upper troposphere during summer, due to a too high tropopause in the GCM. When the GCM winds are relaxed toward assimilated meteorology, a much higher variability is obtained for ozone in the upper troposphere, reflecting more frequent stratospheric intrusions. The stratospheric influx of ozone increases from 523 Tg/yr in the base case simulation to 783 Tg/yr in the nudged version.

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