Latitudinal transport by barotropic waves in Titan's stratosphere.. II. Results from a coupled dynamics-microphysics-photochemistry GCM
We present a 2D general circulation model of Titan's atmosphere, coupling axisymmetric dynamics with haze microphysics, a simplified photochemistry and eddy mixing. We develop a parameterization of latitudinal eddy mixing by barotropic waves based on a shallow-water, longitude-latitude model. The parameterization acts locally and in real time both on passive tracers and momentum. The mixing coefficient varies exponentially with a measure of the barotropic instability of the mean zonal flow. The coupled GCM approximately reproduces the Voyager temperature measurements and the latitudinal contrasts in the distributions of HCN and C 2H 2, as well as the main features of the zonal wind retrieved from the 1989 stellar occultation. Wind velocities are consistent with the observed reversal time of the North-South albedo asymmetry of 5 terrestrial years. Model results support the hypothesis of a non-uniform distribution of infrared opacity as the cause of the Voyager temperature asymmetry. Transport by the mean meridional circulation, combined with polar vortex isolation may be at the origin of the latitudinal contrasts of trace species, with eddy mixing remaining restricted to low latitudes most of the Titan year. We interpret the contrasts as a signature of non-axisymmetric motions.