Idealized models for planetary climate & circulation: From Earth to Titan

Jonathan Mitchell
University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)

Titan, Saturn's largest moon, is in many respects the most Earth-like environment in the Solar System. Its thick, Nitrogen atmosphere is laden with methane vapor which is an active thermodynamic (and radiative) constituent, thus playing the role of water vapor in Earth's atmosphere. I will show how idealized climate models can be usefully applied to Titan's climate and atmospheric circulation. In the first part, I will use a steady theory for Earth's tropical circulation and an idealized, moist GCM to characterize Titan's weather and climate. In the second part, I will use a dry GCM to show the transition from an Earth-like wind pattern to a Titan-like wind pattern, the latter being characterized by atmospheric angular momentum exceeding solid-body rotation, i.e., superrotation.

Back to Workshop I: Equation Hierarchies for Climate Modeling