A pole-to-equator ocean overturning circulation on Enceladus

  title={A pole-to-equator ocean overturning circulation on Enceladus},
  author={Ana H. Lobo and Andrew F. Thompson and Steven Douglas Vance and Saikiran Tharimena},
  journal={Nature Geoscience},
  pages={185 - 189}
Enceladus is believed to have a saltwater global ocean, heated at the ocean–core interface and losing heat to the floating ice shell above. This configuration suggests an important role for vertical convection. The ice shell has dramatic meridional thickness variations that, in steady state, must be sustained by the ocean circulation against processes acting to remove these anomalies. This could be achieved through spatially separated regions of freezing and melting at the ocean–ice interface… 
8 Citations

Figures from this paper

Dynamic Europa ocean shows transient Taylor columns and convection driven by ice melting and salinity
The meridional oceanic heat transport is intense enough to result in a nearly uniform ice thickness, that is expected to be observable in future missions.
Exploration of Icy Ocean Worlds Using Geophysical Approaches
Geophysics-focused missions and improved geophysical data sets are critical for the future exploration of icy ocean worlds. Of particular interest is the exploration of the Galilean moon, Europa, and
Extremophile enzyme optimization for low temperature and high salinity are fundamentally incompatible.
The results suggest that enzyme adaptation to low temperature and high salinity might be evolutionarily counterposed based on the structural characteristics of probable amino acid mutations, and may help explain the apparent lack of truly psychrophilic halophiles in nature.
Ocean Circulation on Enceladus with a High- versus Low-salinity Ocean
Previous studies that have considered the ocean circulation on Enceladus have generally assumed the salinity to be Earth-like. However, according to observations and geochemical constraints, the
The Science Case for a Return to Enceladus
The plume of Enceladus is unique in the solar system in providing direct access to fresh material from an extraterrestrial subsurface ocean. The Cassini Mission, though not specifically designed for


The influence of meridional ice transport on Europa's ocean stratification and heat content
Jupiter's moon Europa likely hosts a saltwater ocean beneath its icy surface. Geothermal heating and rotating convection in the ocean may drive a global overturning circulation that redistributes
The Effect of Southern Ocean Surface Buoyancy Loss on the Deep-Ocean Circulation and Stratification
AbstractThe deep-ocean circulation and stratification have likely undergone major changes during past climates, which may have played an important role in the modulation of atmospheric CO2
Ocean Dynamics of Outer Solar System Satellites
  • K. Soderlund
  • Geology, Physics
    Geophysical Research Letters
  • 2019
Ocean worlds are prevalent in the solar system. Focusing on Enceladus, Titan, Europa, and Ganymede, I use rotating convection theory and numerical simulations to predict ocean currents and the
A Southern Ocean Mechanism for the Interhemispheric Coupling and Phasing of the Bipolar Seesaw
The last glacial period is punctuated by abrupt changes in Northern Hemisphere temperatures that are known as Dansgaard–Oeschger (DO) events. A striking and largely unexplained feature of DO events
Enceladus's ice shell structure as a window on internal heat production
Abstract Its extraordinary level of geologic activity, its potential for habitability, and the prospects of returning samples from its plume of erupting water ice make Saturn's small (∼500 km
Antarctic sea ice control on ocean circulation in present and glacial climates
This study shows that this rearrangement of deep water masses is dynamically linked to the expansion of summer sea ice around Antarctica, and may help quantify the ocean’s role in regulating atmospheric carbon dioxide on glacial–interglacial timescales.
The Turbulent Circulation of a Snowball Earth Ocean
AbstractTheoretical arguments are developed to derive general properties of the ocean circulation in a “snowball” world, and the predictions are confirmed in a series of idealized numerical
Powering prolonged hydrothermal activity inside Enceladus
Geophysical data from the Cassini spacecraft imply the presence of a global ocean underneath the ice shell of Enceladus1, only a few kilometres below the surface in the South Polar Terrain2–4.
Enceladus' south polar sea
Recent observations of the south pole of Saturn's moon Enceladus by the Cassini spacecraft have revealed an active world, powered by internal heat. In this paper, we propose that localized subsurface
The temperature of Europa's subsurface water ocean
A 100 km deep liquid water ocean probably underlies the icy exterior of Jupiter’s satellite Europa. The long-term persistence of a liquid ocean beneat ha n ice shell presents a thermal conundrum: Is