37th DPS Meeting, 4-9 September 2005
Session 45 Titan's Atmosphere
Poster, Wednesday, September 7, 2005, 6:00-7:15pm, Music Recital Room

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[45.24] On Origin of Clouds on Titan

P. Rannou, F. Montmessin, F. Hourdin, S. Lebonnois (Service d'Aeronomie)

Clouds have been observed through the haze in near infrared with spectroscopy few uears ago, and then imaged near the south pole and in temperate regions quite recently. They are essentially observed near the south pole and around the latitude 40 degrees S. Smaller discrete clouds are sometimes at other latitudes. To study the cloud layer, we have developped a general circulation model of Titan which includes a microphysical model of ethane and methane clouds. In our results, we identify several types of ethane and methane clouds on Titan, among which a south polar cloud and sporadic clouds in temperate regions very similar to those observed. We also predict a background mist of ethane in polar regions below 60 km, mixed with the haze layer, and clouds in the winter polar region. Locations, frequencies and composition of these clouds are essentially explained by the large scale circulation.

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 37 #3
© 2004. The American Astronomical Soceity.