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Vertical profiles of HCN, HC3N, and C2H2 in Titan’s atmosphere



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Icarus 186 2007 364 384 www elsevier com locate icarus Vertical profiles of HCN HC3N and C2H2 in Titan s atmosphere derived from Cassini CIRS data N A Teanby a P G J Irwin a R de Kok a S Vinatier b B B zard b C A Nixon c F M Flasar d S B Calcutt a N E Bowles a L Fletcher a C Howett a F W Taylor a a Atmospheric Oceanic Planetary Physics Department of Physics University of Oxford Clarendon Laboratory Parks Road Oxford OX1 3PU UK b Observatoire de Paris LESIA Meudon F 92195 France c Department of Astronomy University of Maryland College Park MD 20742 USA d NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Code 693 Greenbelt MD 20771 USA Received 13 July 2006 revised 18 September 2006 Available online 17 November 2006 Abstract Mid infrared limb spectra in the range 600 1400 cm 1 taken with the Composite InfraRed Spectrometer CIRS on board the Cassini spacecraft were used to determine vertical profiles of HCN HC3 N C2 H2 and temperature in Titan s atmosphere Both high 0 5 cm 1 and low 13 5 cm 1 spectral resolution data were used The 0 5 cm 1 data gave profiles at four latitudes and the 13 5 cm 1 data gave almost complete latitudinal coverage of the atmosphere Both datasets were found to be consistent with each other High temperatures in the upper stratosphere and mesosphere were observed at Titan s northern winter pole and were attributed to adiabatic heating in the subsiding branch of a meridional circulation cell On the other hand the lower stratosphere was much colder in the north than at the equator which can be explained by the lack of solar radiation and increased IR emission from volatile enriched air HC3 N had a vertical profile consistent with previous ground based observations at southern and equatorial latitudes but was massively enriched near the north pole This can also be explained in terms of subsidence at the winter pole A boundary observed at 60 N between enriched and un enriched air is consistent with a confining polar vortex at 60 N and HC3 N s short lifetime In the



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