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Catalogue POP – Notice individuelle de publication

Guerlet Sandrine, Spiga Aymeric, Sylvestre Mélody, Indurain Mikel, Fouchet Thierry, Leconte Jeremy, Millour Ehouarn, Wordsworth Robin, Capderou Michel, Bézard Bruno, Forget François

Global climate modeling of Saturn's atmosphere. Part I: Evaluation of the radiative transfer model

Icarus, 2014, vol. 238, pp. 110-124

Référence DOI : 10.1016/j.icarus.2014.05.010
Référence ADS : 2014Icar..238..110G

Résumé :

We have developed and optimized a seasonal, radiative-convective model of Saturn's upper troposphere and stratosphere. It is used to investigate Saturn's radiatively-forced thermal structure between 3 and 10<SUP>-6</SUP> bar, and is intended to be included in a Saturn global climate model (GCM), currently under development. The main elements of the radiative transfer model are detailed as well as the sensitivity to spectroscopic parameters, hydrocarbon abundances, aerosol properties, oblateness, and ring shadowing effects. The vertical temperature structure and meridional seasonal contrasts obtained by the model are then compared to Cassini/CIRS observations. Several significant model-observation mismatches reveal that Saturn's atmosphere departs from radiative equilibrium. For instance, we find that the modeled temperature profile is close to isothermal above the 2-mbar level, while the temperature retrieved from ground-based or Cassini/CIRS data continues to increase with altitude. Also, no local temperature minimum associated to the ring shadowing is observed in the data, while the model predicts stratospheric temperatures 10 K to 20 K cooler than in the absence of rings at winter tropical latitudes. These anomalies are strong evidence that processes other that radiative heating and cooling control Saturn's stratospheric thermal structure. Finally, the model is used to study the warm stratospheric anomaly triggered after the 2010 Great White Spot. Comparison with recent Cassini/CIRS observations suggests that the rapid cooling phase of this warm ``beacon'' in May-June 2011 can be explained by radiative processes alone. Observations on a longer timeline are needed to better characterize and understand its long-term evolution.

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