Volume 554, June 2013
|Number of page(s)||17|
|Section||Planets and planetary systems|
|Published online||05 June 2013|
3D climate modeling of close-in land planets: Circulation patterns, climate moist bistability, and habitability
1 LMD, Institut Pierre-Simon Laplace, Université P. et M. Curie, BP99, 75005 Paris, France
2 Department of Geological Sciences, University of Chicago, 5734 S Ellis Avenue, Chicago, IL 60622, USA
3 Université de Bordeaux, Observatoire Aquitain des Sciences de l’Univers, BP 89, 33271 Floirac Cedex, France
4 CNRS, UMR 5804, Laboratoire d’Astrophysique de Bordeaux, BP 89, 33271 Floirac Cedex, France
Received: 4 January 2013
Accepted: 27 March 2013
The inner edge of the classical habitable zone is often defined by the critical flux needed to trigger the runaway greenhouse instability. This 1D notion of a critical flux, however, may not be all that relevant for inhomogeneously irradiated planets, or when the water content is limited (land planets). Based on results from our 3D global climate model, we present general features of the climate and large-scale circulation on close-in terrestrial planets. We find that the circulation pattern can shift from super-rotation to stellar/anti stellar circulation when the equatorial Rossby deformation radius significantly exceeds the planetary radius, changing the redistribution properties of the atmosphere. Using analytical and numerical arguments, we also demonstrate the presence of systematic biases among mean surface temperatures and among temperature profiles predicted from either 1D or 3D simulations. After including a complete modeling of the water cycle, we further demonstrate that two stable climate regimes can exist for land planets closer than the inner edge of the classical habitable zone. One is the classical runaway state where all the water is vaporized, and the other is a collapsed state where water is captured in permanent cold traps. We identify this “moist” bistability as the result of a competition between the greenhouse effect of water vapor and its condensation on the night side or near the poles, highlighting the dynamical nature of the runaway greenhouse effect. We also present synthetic spectra showing the observable signature of these two states. Taking the example of two prototype planets in this regime, namely Gl 581 c and HD 85512 b, we argue that depending on the rate of water delivery and atmospheric escape during the life of these planets, they could accumulate a significant amount of water ice at their surface. If such a thick ice cap is present, various physical mechanisms observed on Earth (e.g., gravity driven ice flows, geothermal flux) should come into play to produce long-lived liquid water at the edge and/or bottom of the ice cap. Consequently, the habitability of planets at smaller orbital distance than the inner edge of the classical habitable zone cannot be ruled out. Transiting planets in this regime represent promising targets for upcoming exoplanet characterization observatories, such as EChO and JWST.
Key words: planets and satellites: general / planets and satellites: atmospheres / planets and satellites: physical evolution / planet-star interactions
© ESO, 2013
Current usage metrics show cumulative count of Article Views (full-text article views including HTML views, PDF and ePub downloads, according to the available data) and Abstracts Views on Vision4Press platform.
Data correspond to usage on the plateform after 2015. The current usage metrics is available 48-96 hours after online publication and is updated daily on week days.
Initial download of the metrics may take a while.