Titan’s Robust Weather Pattern

Imagine living in a world where natural gas in liquid form falls out of the sky as you look up. This of course is no imagination coming from man rather it’s known as Titan! A small moon compared to Saturn itself, about the size of Mercury has a robust weather pattern. Scientists have observed cloud cover over Titan’s vast dune fields as reported in science this week and covered in various news outlets (here and here).

“When photos showed a large patch near the equator of Titan mysteriously darken and then grow lighter within a couple of weeks, scientists knew something big was happening on Saturn’s largest moon. But what they found was something they didn’t expect: a methane rainstorm in a region of Titan thought to be covered by vast, arid dunes.”

“While the large moon is known to have methane lakes at its north and south poles, scientists thought Titan’s equatorial region was mostly dry, but the likely cause of the darkness was determined to be an outburst of clouds and methane rain — which suggests Titan’s equator has a rainy season.”

The weather pattern various from a drizzle to a flood in some areas. Observations of clouds changing in brightness were detected by the space probe Cassini from October of 2010 to January 2011. The clouds covered an estimate of 1000 km but left no evidence of standing liquid on the ground. Since Titan’s atmosphere is considered similar to that of earth, it was a bit of a surprise to discover a weather pattern near or on the equator that shows long dry spells rather than a tropical pattern observed on earth.

Perhaps Cassini is causing man-made global warming on Titan! Maybe future probes will have to go through emission tests first before being sent out in space so this problem doesn’t happen again! In all seriousness though, for some reason the clouds do not remain near the equator for long but most likely was able to wet the surface a bit without leaving puddles.

Not surprisingly, none of the publications discuss the age issue, because its easier to have a dogma set in place than to test the real issue. It would be reasonable to find evidence of vast deposits of precipitation if cloudbursts have been going on for millions or even billions of years! The channels do seem to reflect the drainage channels as being formed by current active weather patterns rather than relics of past epochs which makes Titan much younger than 4.5 billion years old!

How could scientists who believe in old ago dogma test the issue? After all, theoretical physicists are in the process of trying to come up with a formula to fit natural-only models of galaxy formation from contradictory evidence such as mature galaxies and stars being discovered in part of the universe where it’s considered immature. The answer to what scientists could do to test the old age dogma in order to have a better understanding is this, they could model what the conditions on Titan would be expected to look like after billions of years and ask whether the model fits current observations!


14 thoughts on “Titan’s Robust Weather Pattern

  1. It would be reasonable to find evidence of vast deposits of precipitation if cloudbursts have been going on for millions or even billions of years!

    Just as, if cloudbursts had been going on for billions of years on Earth, the Earth should now be covered with water way deeper than the highest mountains. And getting deeper every year!

    Michael has never heard of the hydrologic cycle, in which water—or other precipitation—falls and then evaporates back into the atmosphere. But then we can’t expect Michael to know something just because it’s taught in 8th-grade science.

    Can we?

  2. “Can we ?”

    No we can’t … that is pretty obvious.

    The ramblings on galaxy formation and ‘immature’ (and naughty ??) galaxies does not help either.

  3. “in part of the universe where it’s considered immature. ”

    What on Earth is that supposed to mean ? Well, queue your jokes here …

  4. Michael has done a stand-up job of mangling English grammar in this post. Enough that his meaning is often not at all clear.

    As to parts of the universe considered immature, it may be that the universe has different social circles. For example, in certain parts it may b considered immature to form galaxies before tea-time.

  5. A year ago at this time, Eelco challenged Michael’s assessment of the number of readers of this blog. Michal refused to divulge his statistics.

    For some reason, the “Like” box below this post attracted my attention for the first time. So I whipped back through the last 3 months of Michael’s efforts. The great majority of those posts still say “Be the first to like this post.” Only a few have one or two “likes’. One post has 3, none have 4 or more.

    The interesting part is that every one of the “likes’ was either Texas Glenn or Lance Ponder, or both. Except for these two knee-jerk regulars, that leaves only one single, solitary fan of one of Michael’s posts in at least the past three months. We know from their comments that neither Glenn nor Lance knows squat about science—although Lance at least asks some intelligent questions.

    There is, unfortunately, no “Dislike” button, so we can’t gauge the number of total readers. However, the blog is obviously written for those of the creationist persuasion. Yet only two of them—and two others who comment sporadically—seem to put any stock in what Michael has to say.

    Perhaps, as Kris, speculates, Michael is trying to convince only himself.

  6. Eelco,

    “in part of the universe where it’s considered immature. ”Answer: Deep space.

    What about the modeling idea that includes the expected conditions on Titan to look like after billions of years and ask whether the model fits current observations? Isn’t this what they call an experimentation tool that you believe is keeping your thinking under the constraint of testing where your continuing looking at what your reasoning is to what conforms to what your experiencing?

  7. Olorin,

    Thanks for the strawman’s analysis, but what’s your point? There are creationists with their own shows who have millions of listeners or viewers…

    Here is an example from a tv-show that promotes creationism and the only reason why Dawkins was on that show was because it has an enormous audience…

  8. Michael, because you have refused to back up your own claims about readership, we must garner what evidence we can from whatever sources are available. That’s your fault, not ours.

    There is no doubt that Bill O’Reilly has a large audience among the ignorati, and he does promote creationism, along with other kinds of inane drivel. We might mention Ann Coulter also, since she was in the news recently for a particularly stupid remark about radiation hormesis. And then there is Ken Ham and his scam of Kentucky taxpayers.

    But, since you didn’t notice on your own, my point is this. How well are YOU doing in promoting creationism? How many people read “New Discoveries and Comments about Creationism”? How many are convinced by the ignorant and misleading pronouncements about evolution? How far has the soi-disant crumbling of the theory of evolution progressed? How many arguments have you advanced that are not slavish plagiarisms of shop-worn AiG or ICR twaddle?

    And, since your blog is entitled “New Discoveries and Comments about CREATIONISM,” how much positive evidence has this blog ever reported FOR creationism—as opposed to supposed flaws in evolution? In the two years I’ve been following it, the total has been zero.


    So, once again, the point is that your contribution to creationism has been negligible. Tallying the “likes” is merely one small way of establishing that point. We call that “observation.’

  9. Michael, I have no idea what a “strawman’s analysis” might mean.

    Perhaps an ornithological study done by a scarecrow?

    A separation of a distorted position into its component parts?

    Please enlighten us.

  10. @Michael,

    Olorin has a point. He points out to you, “And, since your blog is entitled ‘New Discoveries and Comments about CREATIONISM,’ how much positive evidence has this blog ever reported FOR creationism—as opposed to supposed flaws in evolution?”

    What you do not seem to understand is even if Evolution were flawed, the flaws do not constitute as evidence for Creationism. A negative argument against one scientific paradigm does not lead to the conclusion that the exact opposite is true.

    To put it in a way that you can understand, here is my point:

    1. Bush claimed there were WMDs in Iraq.
    2. We have not found the WMDs.
    3. Therefore Bush lied.

    I guess that to you, evidence that the WMDs were neither found or that they were never in Iraq would NOT NECESSARILY lead to the conclusion that he lied. I would agree that there are other options e.g., he could have taken false information seriously, for example. You can argue that just because the evidence shows problems with the hypothesis the WMDs were in Iraq, that doesn’t constitute as evidence that we were deliberately lied to.

    Note: I am not taking sides on the WMD argument. I am just trying to give Michael an illustration he can understand.

  11. @Olorin

    Michael, I have no idea what a “strawman’s analysis” might mean.

    I seriously doubt that Michael even knows what a strawman is. For his benefit, I will explain that is an opposing argument that unfailry presents the opposing argument in a way to knock it down,

    A good example of a Creationist Strawman is the following:

    1. Evolution says everything in in constant change.

    2. We find fossils claimed to be millions of years old of species similar or identical to species we know today, (i.e., “Living Fossils).

    3. These particular animals have not changed.

    4. Therefore Evolution does not occur.

    Of course anyone with a good understanding of Evolution knows that Evolution does not make the prediction that animals HAVE TO change. Evolution is about adaptation to an environment. If the animal species has an ideal environment, then it need not change. [1]

    Another example of a strawman argument used by Creationists is on the origin of life:

    1. Evolutionists cannot explain how life came about via abiogenesis.

    2. Evolution needs abiogenesis.

    3. Therefore the lack of an explanation discredits evolution.

    The fact that Abiogenesis was proposed separately from Evolution and is a MUCH NEWER science than Evolution is enough to disprove this Creationist strawman. [2]

    Then one of my favorite strawmen; the claim about the “survival of the fittest”:

    1. Evolution is about survival of the fittest.

    2. It therefore means we must get bigger and better.

    3. Therefore Evolution lays the path for Social Darwinism like in Nazi Germany.

    First of all, Darwin never used the term “survival of the fittest.” It was used by Herbert Spencer WHO COMPLETELY MISUNDERSTOOD Darwinian Evolution!!

    Then finally, about Creationist claims about “more” or “less” evolved species…which is kind of related to the last one:

    1. We are supposed to become more fit.

    2. We see degeneration; not more improvement

    3. Animals are becoming lower.

    4. Therefore Darwin was wrong.

    Darwin himself never said we were getting bigger and better, and he made it clear that there was no direction or goal. He himself said:

    “It is absurd to talk of one animal being higher than another,”

    I have long ago explained this particular detail to Michael, but he never addressed it.

    [1] A famous example of a “Living Fossil” is the Coelacanth. Creationists claim that it hasn’t changed, and therefore falsifies evolution. As pointed out above, there is no requirement to change. Besides, the modern Coelacanth is not even the same as it’s predecessors we find in the fossil record. The skeletal structures of the fossil specimens are significantly different than the species alive today. The skull shape is different, for example.

    [2] Norman Geisler and Kent Hovind make the claim that if we claim that Evolution doesn’t need abiogenesis, then we do not have “a coherent theory.” This is like saying that my house’s air condition is incoherent without knowing how the weather is going to be any given day.”You do not know how the weather will be like, therefore your air condition is useless.” –Just to give you an idea of how stupid the claim is…

  12. Kris, there is another kind of strawman, too,[1] a good kind. In a complex situation, someone will propose an overall plan for discussion, knowing that it has defects. The participants then tweak the plan, suggesting changes and improvements, until a final draft can be agreed to by all.

    This type of strawman is sometimes known as an “Aunt Sally.”

  13. We attended a concert of the Maui Choral Arts tonight. We know the director from previous visits, and met a couple of the singers.

    They performed the medieval “Dona nobis pacem”–but sung as a round, and in Hawaiian! The Latin translates to “E ho’omaluhia ia kakou”; the tune remains the same. Beautiful harmonies, beautiful text.

  14. I’d like to recomend a listen to the lecture given by Dr. Chris McKay (NASA Ames Research Center) titled “Saturn’s Moon Titan: A World with Rivers, Lakes, and Possibly Even Life”

    An mp3 can be found on the following link: http://www.astrosociety.org/education/podcast/index.html

    I found it very useful in explaining what was discovered, what was predicted and what we still don’t know. Its just a shame its going to be so long before a prob can be sent there.

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