Friday iTunes iChing: Storms on Titan

I had a lovely Friday iTunes tarot reading nearly prepared last week when the competing Oracle of Firefox and Accidentally Closed Tabs prophesied doom and destruction for all my questions. So, now that the auspicious day of Friday is once again upon us, I’ll restate my question.

O Frabjous Oracle! We know that Saturn’s moon Titan has a hydrologic cycle, with liquid methane acting in place of water; methane is thought to have carved out drainage channels that look quite similar to those on Earth, and we have recently found lakes of it near the poles. But weather at the Huygens landing site is currently a downward-drifting methane mist or light drizzle, more or less like a smoggy winter’s day in Los Angeles. You don’t carve canyons with light drizzle.

Hueso and Sanchez-Lavega estimated the strength of storms that might arise on Titan, and found that they’re roughly equivalent to flash flood events on Earth. In the same issue of Nature, Tokano et al. point out that drizzle is likely an important, stable feature of Titan’s meteorology.

So how about it, iTunes? Can we have a weather forecast for Titan at the next Cassini flyby?

  1. The Covering: Mouth Full Of Shit – Chumbawamba
  2. The Crossing: Sally Gooden – Tony Elman (Swingin’ on a Gate)
  3. The Crown: Mary Donnel – Captain Tractor
  4. The Root: Stoelzel, Concerto in D Major for Six Trumpets and Strings, Allegro Moderato – Württemberg Chamber Orchestra (Masterpieces for Trumpet)
  5. The Past: Itkin – Värttinä (Ilmatar)
  6. The Future: The Early Mist – Wolfstone (The Chase)
  7. The Questioner: Miss Pig – The Indecisives (Indestructible)
  8. The House: Sjung Høyt Min Sjel (Sing Aloud My Soul) – Aly Bain et al. (North Sea Music)
  9. The Inside: Understanding Marx – Red Shadow (The Economics Rock & Roll Band) Live At The Panacea Hilton
  10. The Outcome: Travelin’ Thru – Dolly Parton

As usual, the oracle mocks the questioner. Why do I put up with so much lip from a friggin’ pseudorandom number generator? Anyway, the answer is: more drizzle!


  1. Brian (Jay) wrote:

    One could argue light showers from that…

    I thought I had a complete set of Captain Tractor, apparently not.

    Weather on Devon Island is mostly drizzle in summer, snow flurries in winter, but with the occasional blizzard or cloudburst with 50-kt winds ripping up tents… perhaps not dissimilar.

  2. Lab Lemming wrote:

    Can you prognosticate when the ESA will release the lander data?

  3. Mel wrote:

    Oooh, someone else who listens to Värttinä. There don’t seem to be many of us outside of Finland.

    I’m excited about Titan.

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