Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Night side cooling and surface friction affect climates of tidally locked terrestrial planets

Connecting the dots III: Night side cooling and surface friction affect climates of tidally locked terrestrial planets


Carone et al


We investigate how night side cooling and surface friction impact surface temperatures and large scale circulation for tidally locked Earth-like planets. For each scenario, we vary the orbital period between Prot = 1 − 100 days and capture changes in climate states. We find drastic changes in climate states for different surface friction scenarios. For very efficient surface friction (ts, fric = 0.1 days), the simulations for short rotation periods (Prot ≤ 10 days) show predominantly standing extra tropical Rossby waves. These waves lead to climate states with two high latitude westerly jets and unperturbed meridional direct circulation. In most other scenarios, simulations with short rotation periods exhibit instead dominance by standing tropical Rossby waves. Such climate states have a single equatorial westerly jet, which disrupts direct circulation. Experiments with weak surface friction (ts, fric = ~10 − 100 days) show decoupling between surface temperatures and circulation, which leads to strong cooling of the night side. The experiment with ts, fric = ~100 days assumes climate states with easterly flow (retrograde rotation) for medium and slow planetary rotations Prot = 12 − 100 days. We show that an increase of night side cooling efficiency by one order of magnitude compared to the nominal model leads to a cooling of the night side surface temperatures by 80-100 K. The day side surface temperatures only drop by 25 K at the same time. The increase in thermal forcing suppresses the formation of extra tropical Rossby waves on small planets (RP = 1REarth) in the short rotation period regime (Prot ≤ 10 days).

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