UTIG Seminar Series 11/16/18

Speaker: Dr. Krista Soderlund, UTIG Host: Don Blankenship Title: Ocean Dynamics of Outer Solar System Satellites Abstract: Exploration of the outer solar system has shown that subsurface oceans may be relatively common in the interiors of icy satellites. The presence of liquid water makes these ocean worlds compelling astrobiological targets. However, the dynamics of these oceans also play a role in promoting habitable environments. Here, we focus on the convective ocean dynamics of Europa and Ganymede in preparation for the upcoming Europa Clipper and JUICE missions and of Enceladus and Titan given the abundance of data from the Cassini mission. We use theoretical arguments and numerical models to make predictions about ocean currents and heat transfer patterns. Our results show that oceans in the outer solar system are prone to dynamics that are not strongly constrained by the Coriolis force due to their relatively slow rotation rates. In addition, convective heat transfer is found to vary with latitude, which may have consequences for the thermophysical structure of the ice shell and be linked to surface deformation.