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Titan's Lakes: Seasonal and Longer Term Climate Cycles

Monday, August 11, 2014

The Cassini mission to Titan has unveiled a world that experiences
surface temperatures about 200 degrees colder than Earth¹s, receives
100 times less sunlight, where hydrocarbon molecules rain from the sky 
and water ice is as hard as rock.  But for all of its strange
thermosphysical and chemical state, Titan exhibits landforms
remarkably familiar to our own: extensive dunes in the dry regions,
braided channel networks draining from mountains to large basins, and 
perhaps most astonishingly, large seas and lakes in the high latitudes 
filled with liquid methane and ethane.  This presentation will review the 
discoveries of the recent flybys of Titan with focus on what has been learned 
about its lakes, their seasonal evolution, and the hypothesis that they
 undergo cyclic changes over tens of thousands of years, analogous to (Croll) 
Milankovitch climate cycles on Earth.

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