Demarcating circulation regimes of synchronously rotating terrestrial planets within the habitable zone

Jacob Haqq-Misra, Eric T Wolf, Manoj Joshi, Xi Zhang, Ravi Kumar Kopparapu

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Abstract

We investigate the atmospheric dynamics of terrestrial planets in synchronous rotation within the habitable zone of low-mass stars using the Community Atmosphere Model (CAM). The surface temperature contrast between day and night hemispheres decreases with an increase in incident stellar flux, which is opposite the trend seen on gas giants. We define three dynamical regimes in terms of the equatorial Rossby deformation radius and the Rhines length. The slow rotation regime has a mean zonal circulation that spans from day to night side, with both the Rossby deformation radius and the Rhines length exceeding planetary radius, which occurs for planets around stars with effective temperatures of 3300 K to 4500 K (rotation period > 20 days). Rapid rotators have a mean zonal circulation that partially spans a hemisphere and with banded cloud formation beneath the substellar point, with the Rossby deformation radius is less than planetary radius, which occurs for planets orbiting stars with effective temperatures of less than 3000 K (rotation period < 5 days). In between is the Rhines rotation regime, which retains a thermally-direct circulation from day to night side but also features midlatitude turbulence-driven zonal jets. Rhines rotators occur for planets around stars in the range of 3000 K to 3300 K (rotation period ∼ 5 to 20 days), where the Rhines length is greater than planetary radius but the Rossby deformation radius is less than planetary radius. The dynamical state can be observationally inferred from comparing the morphology of the thermal emission phase curves of synchronously rotating planets.
Original languageEnglish
Article number67
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Volume852
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 8 Jan 2018

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