Publication Abstracts

West et al. 2016

West, R.A., A.D. Del Genio, J.M. Barbara, D. Toledo, P. Lavvas, P. Rannou, E.P. Turtle, and J. Perry, 2016: Cassini Imaging Science Subsystem observations of Titan's south polar cloud. Icarus, 270, 399-408, doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2014.11.038.

In May of 2012 images of Titan obtained by the Cassini Imaging Science Subsystem (ISS) showed a newly-formed cloud patch near the southern pole. The cloud has unusual morphology and texture suggesting that it is formed by condensation at an altitude much higher than expected for any of the known organics in Titan's atmosphere. We measured the altitude to be 300±10 km from images when the feature was on the limb. Limb images suggest that the initial stages of the formation began in late 2011. It was just visible in images obtained in 2014 but is not expected to be visible in the future due to enveloping darkness as the season progresses. The feature has a slightly different color than the surrounding haze. Its optical thickness is near 2 at 889 nm wavelength and the particle imaginary refractive index must be less than 5×10-4 at that wavelength. Wind vectors derived from a time series show that it is rotating about a center offset by 4.5° from Titan's solid-body spin axis, consistent with that found from the temperature field by Achterberg et al. (2008), Observation of a tilt of Titan's middle-atmospheric superrotation, Icarus 197, 549-555 and subsequent measurements. The feature rotates at an angular velocity near the rate expected for transport of angular momentum from the low latitudes to the pole. The clumpy texture of the feature resembles that of terrestrial cloud fields undergoing open cell convection, an unusual configuration initiated by downwelling.

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BibTeX Citation

  author={West, R. A. and Del Genio, A. D. and Barbara, J. M. and Toledo, D. and Lavvas, P. and Rannou, P. and Turtle, E. P. and Perry, J.},
  title={Cassini Imaging Science Subsystem observations of Titan's south polar cloud},

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RIS Citation

ID  - we00100k
AU  - West, R. A.
AU  - Del Genio, A. D.
AU  - Barbara, J. M.
AU  - Toledo, D.
AU  - Lavvas, P.
AU  - Rannou, P.
AU  - Turtle, E. P.
AU  - Perry, J.
PY  - 2016
TI  - Cassini Imaging Science Subsystem observations of Titan's south polar cloud
JA  - Icarus
VL  - 270
SP  - 399
EP  - 408
DO  - 10.1016/j.icarus.2014.11.038
ER  -

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