An Iterative Mathematical Climate Model of the Atmosphere of Titan
Journal of Water Resources and Ocean Science
Volume 9, Issue 1, February 2020, Pages: 15-28
Received: Oct. 26, 2019; Accepted: Jan. 4, 2020; Published: Jan. 31, 2020
Views 449      Downloads 188
Philip Mulholland, Mulholland Geoscience, Weybridge, Surrey, UK
Stephen Paul Rathbone Wilde, Mulholland Geoscience, Weybridge, Surrey, UK
Article Tools
Follow on us
Titan, the giant moon of the planet Saturn, is recognized to have meteorological processes involving liquid methane that are analogous to the water generated atmospheric dynamics of planet Earth. We propose here that the climatic features of Titan by contrast are more akin to those of the planet Venus, and that this structural similarity is a direct result of the slow daily rotation rate of these two terrestrial bodies. We present here a simple mathematical climate model based on meteorological principles, and intended to be a replacement for the standard radiation balance equation used in current studies of planetary climate. The Dynamic-Atmosphere Energy-Transport climate model (DAET) is designed to be applied to terrestrial bodies that have sufficient mass and surface gravity to be able to retain a dense atmosphere under a given solar radiation loading. All solar orbiting bodies have both an illuminated hemisphere of net energy collection and a dark hemisphere of net energy loss. The DAET model acknowledges the existence of these dual day and nighttime radiation environments and uses a fully transparent non-condensing atmosphere as the primary mechanism of energy storage and transport in a metrological process that links the two hemispheres. The DAET model has the following distinct advantages as a founding model of climate: It can be applied to all terrestrial planets, including those that are tidally locked. It is an atmospheric mass motion and energy circulation process, and so is fully representative of a Hadley cell; the observed fundamental meteorological process of a terrestrial planet’s climate. The diabatic form of the DAET model fully replicates the traditional vacuum planet equation, and as it applies to a totally transparent atmosphere it therefore demonstrates that thermal radiant opacity, due to the presence of polyatomic molecular gases, is not a fundamental requirement for atmospheric energy retention. For the adiabatic form of the DAET model, where the turbulent asymmetric daytime process of forced radiant convection applies, the intercepted solar energy is preferentially retained by the ascending air. The adiabatic DAET climate model shows that the atmospheric greenhouse effect of surface thermal enhancement is a mass motion process, and that it is completely independent of an atmosphere’s thermal radiant opacity.
Climate Model, Titan Atmosphere, Atmospheric Dynamics, Terrestrial Planets
To cite this article
Philip Mulholland, Stephen Paul Rathbone Wilde, An Iterative Mathematical Climate Model of the Atmosphere of Titan, Journal of Water Resources and Ocean Science. Vol. 9, No. 1, 2020, pp. 15-28. doi: 10.11648/j.wros.20200901.13
Copyright © 2020 Authors retain the copyright of this article.
This article is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License ( which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Redd, N. T. 2018. Titan: Facts About Saturn's Largest Moon.
Courtin, R. and Kim, S. J., 2002. Mapping of Titan's tropopause and surface temperatures from Voyager IRIS spectra. Planetary and Space Science, 50 (3), pp. 309-321.
Schaller, E. L., Brown, M. E., Roe, H. G. and Bouchez, A. H., 2006. A large cloud outburst at Titan's south pole. Icarus, 182 (1), pp. 224-229.
Del Genio, A. D. and Suozzo, R. J., 1987. A Comparative Study of Rapidly and Slowly Rotating Dynamical Regimes in a Terrestrial General Circulation Model. Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences, Vol. 44 (6), pp. 973-984.
European Space Agency. 2004. Titan’s True Colors.
Waite, J. H., Young, D. T., Cravens, T. E., Coates, A. J., Crary, F. J., Magee, B. and Westlake, J., 2007. The process of tholin formation in Titan's upper atmosphere. Science, 316 (5826), pp. 870-875.
Porco, C. C., Baker, E., Barbara, J., Beurle, K., Brahic, A., Burns, J. A., Charnoz, S., Cooper, N., Dawson, D. D., Del Genio, A. D. and Denk, T., 2005. Imaging of Titan from the Cassini spacecraft. Nature, 434 (7030), p. 159.
Sagan, C. and Chyba, C., 1997. The early faint sun paradox: Organic shielding of ultraviolet-labile greenhouse gases. Science, 276 (5316), pp. 1217-1221.
Persson, A. O., 2005. The Coriolis Effect: Four centuries of conflict between common sense and mathematics, Part I: A history to 1885. International Commission on the History of Meteorology 2, 24pp.
Williams, D. R., 2016. Solar System Small Worlds Fact Sheet NASA NSSDCA, Mail Code 690.1, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD 20771.
Limited Science, 2018. Possibility of life on Titan (Largest Planet of Saturn) Methane Sea of Titan
Knopf, W. 2019. NASA JPL WebGeocalc Titan Occultations
Williams, D. R., 2018. Saturn Fact Sheet NASA NSSDCA, Mail Code 690.1, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD 20771.
Li, L., Nixon, C. A., Achterberg, R. K., Smith, M. A., Gorius, N. J., Jiang, X., Conrath, B. J., Gierasch, P. J., Simon‐Miller, A. A., Flasar, F. M. and Baines, K. H., 2011. The global energy balance of Titan. NASA Reports Archive.
Robinson, T. D. and Catling, D. C., 2014. Common 0.1 bar tropopause in thick atmospheres set by pressure-dependent infrared transparency. Nature Geoscience, 7 (1), pp. 12-15.
Connolly, R. and Connolly, M. 2019. Balloons in the Air: Understanding Weather and Climate. Center for Environmental Research and Earth Science.
Science Publishing Group
1 Rockefeller Plaza,
10th and 11th Floors,
New York, NY 10020
Tel: (001)347-983-5186