Publications by Neil Bowles

The meridional phosphine distribution in Saturn's upper troposphere from Cassini/CIRS observations

Icarus 188 (2007) 72-88

LN Fletcher, PGJ Irwin, NA Teanby, GS Orton, PD Parrish, SB Calcutt, N Bowles, R de Kok, C Howett, FW Taylor

The Cassini Composite Infrared Spectrometer (CIRS) has been used to derive the vertical and meridional variation of temperature and phosphine (PH3) abundance in Saturn's upper troposphere. PH3 has a significant effect on the measured radiances in the thermal infrared and between May 2004 and September 2005 CIRS recorded thousands of spectra in both the far (10-600 cm-1) and mid (600-1400 cm-1) infrared, at a variety of latitudes covering the southern hemisphere. Low spectral resolution (15 cm-1) data has been used to constrain the temperature structure of the troposphere between 100 and 500 mbar. The vertical distributions of phosphine and ammonia were retrieved from far-infrared spectra at the highest spectral resolution (0.5 cm-1), and lower resolution (2.5 cm-1) mid-infrared data were used to map the meridional variation in the abundance of phosphine in the 250-500 mbar range. Temperature variations at the 250 mbar level are shown to occur on the same scale as the prograde and retrograde jets in Saturn's atmosphere [Porco, C.C., and 34 colleagues, 2005. Science 307, 1243-1247]. The PH3 abundance at 250 mbar is found to be enhanced at the equator when compared with mid-latitudes. At mid latitudes we see anti-correlation between temperature and PH3 abundance at 250 mbar, phosphine being enhanced at 45° S and depleted at 25 and 55° S. The vertical distribution is markedly different polewards of 60-65° S, with depleted PH3 at 500 mbar but a slower decline in abundance with altitude when compared with the mid-latitudes. This variation is similar to the variations of cloud and aerosol parameters observed in the visible and near infrared, and may indicate the subsidence of tropospheric air at polar latitudes, coupled with a diminished sunlight penetration depth reducing the rate of PH3 photolysis in the polar region. © 2006 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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