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The Evolution of Titan's Mid-Latitude Clouds
- Griffith, C. A., Penteado, P., Baines, K., Drossart, P., Barnes, J., Bellucci, G., Bibring, J., Brown, R., Buratti, B., Capaccioni, F., Cerroni, P., Clark, R., Combes, M., Coradini, A., Cruikshank, D., Formisano, V., Jaumann, R., Langevin, Y., Matson, D., McCord, T., Mennella, V., Nelson, R., Nicholson, P., Sicardy, B., Sotin, C., Soderblom, L. A., Kursinski, R.
- Science 2005 v.310 no.5747 pp. 474-477
- geology, latitude, longitude, rain, spectrometers, tides, troposphere
- Spectra from Cassini's Visual and Infrared Mapping Spectrometer reveal that the horizontal structure, height, and optical depth of Titan's clouds are highly dynamic. Vigorous cloud centers are seen to rise from the middle to the upper troposphere within 30 minutes and dissipate within the next hour. Their development indicates that Titan's clouds evolve convectively; dissipate through rain; and, over the next several hours, waft downwind to achieve their great longitude extents. These and other characteristics suggest that temperate clouds originate from circulation-induced convergence, in addition to a forcing at the surface associated with Saturn's tides, geology, and/or surface composition.