The Latitudinal Distribution of Clouds on Titan

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Science  13 Jan 2006:
Vol. 311, Issue 5758, pp. 201-205
DOI: 10.1126/science.1118424

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Clouds have been observed recently on Titan, through the thick haze, using near-infrared spectroscopy and images near the south pole and in temperate regions near 40°S. Recent telescope and Cassini orbiter observations are now providing an insight into cloud climatology. To study clouds, we have developed a general circulation model of Titan that includes cloud microphysics. We identify and explain the formation of several types of ethane and methane clouds, including south polar clouds and sporadic clouds in temperate regions and especially at 40° in the summer hemisphere. The locations, frequencies, and composition of these cloud types are essentially explained by the large-scale circulation.

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