Forecast For Titan: Wild Weather Could Be Ahead


Ligeia Mare, the second largest known body of liquid on Saturn's moon Titan. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASI/Cornell

Ligeia Mare, the second largest known body of liquid on Saturn’s moon Titan. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASI/Cornell

Saturn’s moon Titan might be in for some wild weather as it heads into its spring and summer, if two new models are correct. Scientists think that as the seasons change in Titan’s northern hemisphere, waves could ripple across the moon’s hydrocarbon seas, and hurricanes could begin to swirl over these areas, too. The model predicting waves tries to explain data from the moon obtained so far by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft. Both models help mission team members plan when and where to look for unusual atmospheric disturbances as Titan summer approaches.

“If you think being a weather forecaster on Earth is difficult, it can be even more challenging at Titan,” said Scott Edgington, Cassini’s deputy project scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. “We know there are weather processes similar to Earth’s at work on this strange world, but differences arise due to the presence of unfamiliar liquids like methane. We can’t wait for Cassini to tell us whether our forecasts are right as it continues its tour through Titan spring into the start of northern summer.”

Full Story: http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?release=2013-170&cid=release_2013-170

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