EDP Sciences
Free Access
Volume 398, Number 1, January IV 2003
Page(s) 335 - 344
Section The Sun
DOI https://doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20021659
Published online 14 January 2003

A&A 398, 335-344 (2003)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20021659

Effect of chemical kinetic uncertainties on photochemical modeling results: Application to Saturn's atmosphere

M. Dobrijevic, J. L. Ollivier, F. Billebaud, J. Brillet and J. P. Parisot

Observatoire de Bordeaux, BP 89, 32270 Floirac, France
(Received 14 February 2002 / Accepted 21 October 2002)

Reaction rates included in photochemical models of planetary atmospheres carry with them a level of imprecision. This imprecision leads to an uncertainty in computed mole fractions of chemical species. We present estimations of the uncertainties on mole fraction profiles, obtained using a 1-D photochemical model applied to the study of hydrocarbon compounds in Saturn's atmosphere. We calculate the uncertainties as a function of altitude for each compound and derive the mean value and the standard deviation of the mole fraction. We show that the uncertainties on the mole fraction of hydrocarbons determined from a photochemical model are very significant. Ethane and acetylene, the most abundant hydrocarbons in Saturn's atmosphere after methane, are affected by an uncertainty factor of about 1.5, and the mole fraction of complex hydrocarbons, which are the products of a more complex chemistry, are affected by a large uncertainty factor which can reach 24. We discuss the implications for the determination of the eddy diffusion coefficient. In particular, we show that uncertainties on the calculated mole fractions produce a large uncertainty on the eddy diffusion coefficient profile in the lower atmosphere.

Key words: planets and satellites: individual: Saturn -- methods: numerical

Offprint request: M. Dobrijevic, michel@observ.u-bordeaux.fr

© ESO 2003

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