Dissipation of Titan's south polar clouds

Emily L. Schaller, Michael E. Brown, Henry G. Roe, Antonin H. Bouchez, Chadwick A. Trujillo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations


Nearly all adaptive optics images of Titan taken between December 2001 and November 2004 showed tropospheric clouds located within 30° of the south pole. We report here on a dissipation of Titan's south polar clouds observed in twenty-nine Keck and Gemini images taken between December 2004 and April 2005. The near complete lack of south polar cloud activity during this time, and subsequent resurgence months later at generally higher latitudes, may be the beginning of seasonal change in Titan's weather. The ∼5 month decrease in cloud activity may also have been caused by methane rainout from a large cloud event in October 2004. Understanding the seasonal evolution of Titan's clouds, and of any precipitation associated with them, is essential for interpreting the geological observations of fluid flow features observed over a wide range of Titan latitudes with the Cassini/Huygens spacecraft.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)517-523
Number of pages7
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Atmospheres
  • Infrared observations
  • Meteorology
  • Titan
  • dynamics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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