Volume 612, April 2018
|Number of page(s)||17|
|Section||Planets and planetary systems|
|Published online||07 May 2018|
The effect of metallicity on the atmospheres of exoplanets with fully coupled 3D hydrodynamics, equilibrium chemistry, and radiative transfer
Astrophysics Group, University of Exeter,
EX4 4QL, UK
2 Univ Lyon, Ens de Lyon, Univ Lyon1, CNRS, CRAL, UMR5574, 69007 Lyon, France
3 Maison de la simulation, CEA, CNRS, Univ. Paris-Sud, Univ. VSQ, Univ. Paris-Saclay, 91191 Gif-Sur-Yvette, France
4 Met Office, Exeter EX1 3PB, UK
5 Department of Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics, Columbia University, New York, NY 10025, USA
6 NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, New York, NY 10025, USA
Accepted: 28 December 2017
In this work, we have performed a series of simulations of the atmosphere of GJ 1214b assuming different metallicities using the Met Office Unified Model (UM). The UM is a general circulation model (GCM) that solves the deep, non-hydrostatic equations of motion and uses a flexible and accurate radiative transfer scheme, based on the two-stream and correlated-k approximations, to calculate the heating rates. In this work we consistently couple a well-tested Gibbs energy minimisation scheme to solve for the chemical equilibrium abundances locally in each grid cell for a general set of elemental abundances, further improving the flexibility and accuracy of the model. As the metallicity of the atmosphere is increased we find significant changes in the dynamical and thermal structure, with subsequent implications for the simulated phase curve. The trends that we find are qualitatively consistent with previous works, though with quantitative differences. We investigate in detail the effect of increasing the metallicity by splitting the mechanism into constituents, involving the mean molecular weight, the heat capacity and the opacities. We find the opacity effect to be the dominant mechanism in altering the circulation and thermal structure. This result highlights the importance of accurately computing the opacities and radiative transfer in 3D GCMs.
Key words: planets and satellites: atmospheres / planets and satellites: composition / planets and satellites: gaseous planets
© ESO 2018
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