Thursday, June 30, 2016

The Mineral Clouds of HD 189733b

Dynamic mineral clouds on HD 189733b I. 3D RHD with kinetic, non-equilibrium cloud formation


Lee et al


3D modelling of cloud formation in atmospheres of extrasolar planets coupled to the atmospheric radiative, hydrodynamic and thermo-chemical properties has long been an open challenge. We present a 3D radiative-hydrodynamic (RHD) atmosphere model of HD 189733b fully coupled to a kinetic, microphysical mineral cloud formation model. We include the feedback effects of cloud advection and settling, gas phase element advection and depletion/replenishment and include the radiative effects of cloud and gas opacity. The 3D Navier-Stokes equations are solved consistently with a two-stream radiative transfer scheme coupled with the cloud moment conservation equations. We model the cloud particles as a mix of mineral materials which change in size and composition as they travel through atmospheric thermo-chemical environments. The local cloud properties such as number density, grain size and material composition are time-dependently calculated. Gas phase element depletion as a result of cloud formation are calculated and uncondensed elements are advected across the globe. Mean cloud particle sizes are typically sub-micron (0.01-0.5 {\mu}m) at pressures less than 1 bar with hotter equatorial regions containing the smallest grains. Denser cloud structures occur near terminator regions and deeper (∼ 1 bar) atmospheric layers. A thick, greyer opaque cloud layer is found to be at 100 mbar - 10 bar which contains micron sized or larger cloud particles. The cloud material composition differs across the globe, with various minerals dominating dependent on local thermo-chemical conditions. Silicate materials such as MgSiO3[s] are found to be abundant at mid-high latitudes. Elements involved in the cloud formation can be depleted by several orders of magnitude, with the exception of Oxygen which is depleted by a maximum of 30%.

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