A numerical study of tides in Titan's northern seas, Kraken and Ligeia Maria

David Vincent*, Özgür Karatekin, Jonathan Lambrechts, Ralph D. Lorenz, Véronique Dehant, Éric Deleersnijder

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


The tidal response of Titan's two largest northern seas, Ligeia Mare and Kraken Mare, is studied by means of a two-dimensional, depth-averaged, shallow water model, SLIM (http://www.climate.be/slim). Kraken Mare is formed of two basins, the northern one being assumed to be linked by a single strait, Trevize Fretum, to Ligeia Mare. The tidal motions tend to be independent of each other in each basin (i.e., Ligeia Mare, Kraken 1 and Kraken 2) which results in sharp transitions in the straits. Our results are overall rather similar to those of Tokano et al. (2014), suggesting that a 2D model such as SLIM is adequate for modelling Titan's tides and, since it is (presumably) less computationally demanding, may be better for sensitivity studies. For instance, the maximum tidal range in Kraken and Ligeia Maria respectively are 0.29 m and 0.14 m, which is within the range predicted by Lorenz et al. (2014) although smaller by 0.07 m and larger by 0.04 m than the estimates of Tokano et al. (2014) (but it occurs at the same location). The tidal currents are faster (by about one order of magnitude) in the straits linking those Maria than in the basins themselves (with a maximum of 0.36 m/s in the strait linking Kraken 1 and Kraken 2, Seldon Fretum). A decomposition of the tidal history into different harmonic components is carried out. Except in specific areas such as the straits and the amphidromic point(s), the main tidal component has a period of 1 Titan Day. We also briefly studied the eigenmodes of the northern seas whose period is close to the tidal period: such modes are very local. Indeed, their magnitude is significant (with respect to the magnitude of the modes elsewhere in the seas) in small bay(s) or near the islands of Kraken 2 and Ligeia Mare. They are not excited by the tides as they do not appear in the tidal motion.A sensitivity analysis to poorly constrained parameters (bottom friction coefficient, depth of Trevize Fretum and attenuation factor - the latter is briefly discussed with respect to the values of the Love numbers found in the literature) is also conducted. The model parameters are seen to have a significant impact on the liquid exchanges between the basins and, consequently, on the tidal range and phase, fluid velocity and location of amphidromic point(s).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105-126
Number of pages22
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Liquid body
  • Oceanography
  • Surface seas
  • Tides
  • Titan


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