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Cloud Climatology on Titan
A new atmospheric circulation model of Titan incorporates cloud microphysics and has reproduced the methane and ethane cloud types on this largest moon of Saturn, reports Science.
The model predicts shapes, locations, altitudes, opacities and lifetimes of the clouds. The model mimics the distribution of methane and ethane clouds seen in Titan’s nitrogen-rich atmosphere and produces both a permanent south polar cloud and sporadic clouds at more temperate latitudes.
The fact that the model’s predictions match up well with recent observations on Titan suggests that this model will help researchers analyze how clouds form on Titan and offer new insights into Titan’s cloud physics.
The author of a related “Perspective” article highlights similarities and differences between the methane cycle on Titan and the water cycle on Earth.
12 January 2006