S. Lebonnois, D. Toublanc, F. Hourdin, and P. Rannou. Seasonal Variations of Titan's Atmospheric Composition. Icarus, 152:384-406, 2001. [ bib | DOI | PDF version | ADS link ]
In order to investigate seasonal variations of the composition of Titan's low stratosphere, we developed a two-dimensional (latitude-altitude) photochemical and transport model. Large-scale advection, hidden in the vertical eddy diffusion for one-dimensional models, is accounted for explicitly. Atmospheric dynamics is prescribed using results of independent numerical simulations of the atmospheric general circulation. Both the mean meridional transport and latitudinal mixing by transient planetary waves are taken into account. Chemistry is based on 284 reactions involving 40 hydrocarbons and nitriles. Photodissociation rates are based on a three-dimensional description of the ultraviolet flux. For most species, the model fits well the latitudinal variations observed by Voyager I giving for the first time a full and self-consistent interpretation of these observations. In particular, the enrichment of the high northern latitudes is attributed to subsidence during the winter preceeding the Voyager encounter. Discrepancies are observed for C 2H 4, HC 3N, and C 2N 2 and are attributed to problems in the chemical scheme. Sensitivity to dynamical parameters is investigated. The vertical eddy diffusion coefficient keeps an important role for the upper atmosphere. The wind strength and horizontal eddy diffusion strongly control the latitudinal behavior of the composition in the low stratosphere, while mean concentrations appear to be essentially controlled by chemistry.