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Reoccurring cloud outbursts at Titan’s northern mid-latitudes

Presentation #401.07 in the session Titan: Up High, Down Low.

Published onOct 20, 2022
Reoccurring cloud outbursts at Titan’s northern mid-latitudes

Clouds on Titan have long been monitored from Earth-based observatories and provide critical insight into understanding Titan’s hydrologic cycle. Since 2013, an ongoing Earth-based campaign has searched for clouds on Titan, complementing observations by Cassini, and offering one of the longest continuous datasets of Titan observations. These observations reveal that the atmosphere remained relatively quiet during the lead up to northern summer, especially in comparison to equivalent seasons in the south. More recently, however, atmospheric activity has begun to increase in 2017-2019. We report on observations of two of the longest-duration clouds observed on Titan to date, and the first large-scale clouds observed at Titan’s northern mid-latitudes from Earth. The timing of these clouds suggests that they may instigate cloud formation at other latitudes through global atmospheric waves. The frequency and intensity of clouds at Titan’s northern mid-latitudes suggest an asymmetry in Titan’s seasonality and climate and may provide critical insight into the impact that the surface liquid distribution has on the hydrologic cycle. In addition to these large geographic-scale event, we will report on other cloud activity observed in our ongoing campaign. More recent observations suggest a period of decreased cloud activity, a pattern that has been observed previously following similar large cloud events.

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