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Title: Current state of modeling the photochemistry of Titan’s mutually dependent atmosphere and ionosphere
Authors: Wilson, Eric H.
Atreya, S. K.
Keywords: Titan
ion chemistry
planetary atmospheres
Issue Date: 4-Jun-2004
Publisher: American Geophysical Union
Citation: Journal of Geophysical Research, Vol. 109, E06002, doi:10.1029/2003JE002181, 2004
Abstract: In the context of recent observations, microphysical models, and laboratory data, a photochemical model of Titan’s atmosphere, including updated chemistry focusing on rate coefficients and cross sections measured under appropriate conditions, has been developed to increase understanding of these processes and improve upon previous Titan photochemical models. The model employs a two-stream discrete ordinates method to characterize the transfer of solar radiation, and the effects of electron-impact, cosmic-ray deposition, and aerosol opacities from fractal and Mie particles are analyzed. Sensitivity studies demonstrate that an eddy diffusion profile with a homopause level of 850 km and a methane stratospheric mole fraction of 2.2% provides the best fit of stratospheric and upper atmosphere observations and an improved fit over previous Titan photochemical models. Lack of fits for C3H8, HC3N, and possibly C2H3CN can be resolved with adjustments in aerosol opacity. The model presents a benzene profile consistent with its detection in Titan’s stratosphere [Coustenis et al., 2003], which may play an important role in the formation of Titan hazes. An electron peak concentration of 4200 cm 3 is calculated, which exceeds observations by 20%, considerably lower than previous ionosphere models. With adjustments in aerosol opacities and surface fluxes the model illustrates that reasonable fits to existing observations are possible with a single eddy diffusion profile, contrary to the conclusions of previous Titan models. These results will aid in the receipt and interpretation of data from Cassini-Huygens, which will arrive at Titan in 2004 and deploy a probe into Titan’s atmosphere in January 2005.
Appears in Collections:JPL TRS 1992+

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