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Title: Evolution of the stratospheric temperature and chemical composition over one Titanian year

Since the Voyager 1 (V1) flyby in 1980, Titan's exploration from space and the ground has been ongoing for more than a full revolution of Saturn around the Sun (one Titanian year or 29.5 Earth years had elapsed in 2010 May). In this study, we search for temporal variations affecting Titan's atmospheric thermal and chemical structure within that year. We process Cassini/CIRS data taken during the Titan flybys from 2006-2013 and find a rather uneventful equatorial evolution. Conversely, at northern latitudes, we found enhanced abundances around the period of the northern spring equinox in mid-2009, which subsequently decreased (from 2010 to 2012), returning to values similar to those found in the V1 epoch, one Titanian year before. In the southern latitudes, since 2012, we see a trend for an increase of several trace gases (C{sub 4}H{sub 2}, C{sub 3}H{sub 4}, and HCN), indicative of a seasonal atmospheric reversal setting in. When we compare the CIRS 2010 and the 1980 V1/IRIS spectra (reanalyzed here), we find limited inter-annual variations. A return to the 1980 stratospheric temperatures and abundances is generally achieved from 50°N to 50°S, indicative of the solar radiation being the dominating energy source at 10 AU, as for themore » Earth, as predicted by general circulation and photochemical models. Exceptions concern the most complex hydrocarbons (C{sub 4}H{sub 2} and C{sub 3}H{sub 4}). We also consider data from ground-based and Earth-orbiting observatories (such as from the Infrared Space Observatory, revisited here) and discuss possible atmospheric composition trends during a Titanian year.« less
Authors:
; ;  [1] ; ; ; ; ; ; ;  [2] ;  [3] ;  [4] ;  [5] ;  [6]
  1. Laboratoire d'Etudes Spatiales et d'Instrumentation en Astrophysique (LESIA), Observatoire de Paris, CNRS, UPMC Univ. Paris 06, Univ. Paris-Diderot, 5, place Jules Janssen, F-92195 Meudon Cedex (France)
  2. NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD 20771 (United States)
  3. GSMA, Université Reims Champagne-Ardenne, F-51687 Reims Cedex 2 (France)
  4. School of Earth Sciences, University of Bristol, Bristol BS8 1RJ (United Kingdom)
  5. MS 183-501, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, 4800 Oak Grove Drive, Pasadena, CA 91109 (United States)
  6. Faculty of Physics, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Panepistimioupolis, GR 15783 Zographos, Athens (Greece)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22348391
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Astrophysical Journal; Journal Volume: 779; Journal Issue: 2; Other Information: Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTROPHYSICS, COSMOLOGY AND ASTRONOMY; ABUNDANCE; COMPARATIVE EVALUATIONS; ENERGY SOURCES; EXCEPTIONS; EXPLORATION; HYDROCARBONS; PHOTOCHEMISTRY; SATELLITE ATMOSPHERES; SATELLITES; SATURN PLANET; SOLAR RADIATION; SPACE; SPECTRA; SUN; VOYAGER SPACE PROBES