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2009 Annual Science Report

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory - Titan Reporting  |  JUL 2008 – AUG 2009

Task 2.1.2 Atmospheric State and Dynamics

Project Summary

An understanding of the structure of the Titan atmosphere provides the context for the formation of complex organic compounds in the atmosphere.

4 Institutions
3 Teams
0 Publications
0 Field Sites
Field Sites

Project Progress

Co-Investigators Mark Richardson and Claire Newman have improved the realism in the TitanWRF simulation of the Titan stratosphere. The Ls=270 (southern summer solstice) model results shown in Figure 1 compare well with recent Cassini temperature observations. They also are making use of the Laboratoire Meteorologie Dynamique (LMD) 2D Titan GCM (output from which is available online at to develop a reference atmospheric model. Results from this latter model are shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2. Same variables as Figure 1 but now from the LMD Titan climate database.

Figure 1. Temperature, T, and zonal wind, u, as a function of pressure and latitude from TitanWRF for two seasons: northern fall equinox and winter solstice. In each case the data were obtained by averaging TitanWRF output over all longitudes and over 5 degrees of Ls (planetocentric solar longitude, where Ls=270 corresponds to northern winter solstice).

    Claire Newman Claire Newman
    Project Investigator
    Mark Richardson
    Objective 1.1
    Formation and evolution of habitable planets.

    Objective 2.2
    Outer Solar System exploration

    Objective 3.1
    Sources of prebiotic materials and catalysts

    Objective 3.2
    Origins and evolution of functional biomolecules

    Objective 3.3
    Origins of energy transduction