Modeling the seasonal evolution of the surface distribution of N2, CH4 and CO ices on Pluto to interpret New Horizons observations
The distribution of nitrogen, methane and carbon monoxide ices on Pluto as observed by New Horizons is controlled by the intense seasonal cycle and possibly by some internal sources. To better understand the seasonal processes, we have developed a detailed model of the ices cycles derived from a full Global Climate Model (GCM, see Forget et al., this issue) but in which the transport by the atmosphere is parametrized, based on reference GCM simulations. This allows to simulate the seasonal ices cycles on Pluto for thousands of years.The resulting distribution primarily depends on the seasonal thermal inertia used for the different ices, and is affected by the assumed topography as well. As observed, it is possible to form permanent deposits in the equatorial regions, with possible longitudinal variations depending on the topography. In particular, we will discuss how the elevation of the anti-Charon point, which is not random since its location is the output of the Pluto-Charon tidal locking process, may explain the formation of the Tombaugh Regio ice deposits.
AAS/Division for Planetary Sciences Meeting Abstracts #47
- Pub Date:
- November 2015