Habitable Zones & Global Climate

Idealized Wind-driven Ocean Circulations On Exoplanets

By Keith Cowing
Press Release
September 5, 2018
Filed under
Idealized Wind-driven Ocean Circulations On Exoplanets
Extrasolar planet

Motivated by the important role of the ocean in the Earth climate system, here we investigate possible scenarios of ocean circulations on exoplanets using a one-layer shallow water ocean model.

Specifically, we investigate how planetary rotation rate, wind stress, fluid eddy viscosity and land structure (a closed basin vs. a reentrant channel) influence the pattern and strength of wind-driven ocean circulations. The meridional variation of the Coriolis force, arising from planetary rotation and the spheric shape of the planets, induces the western intensification of ocean circulations. Our simulations confirm that in a closed basin, changes of other factors contribute to only enhancing or weakening the ocean circulations (e.g., as wind stress decreases or fluid eddy viscosity increases, the ocean circulations weaken, and vice versa). In a reentrant channel, just as the Southern Ocean region on the Earth, the ocean pattern is characterized by zonal flows.

In the quasi-linear case, the sensitivity of ocean circulations characteristics to these parameters is also interpreted using simple analytical models. This study is the preliminary step for exploring the possible ocean circulations on exoplanets, future work with multi-layer ocean models and fully coupled ocean-atmosphere models are required for studying exoplanetary climates.

Weiwen Ji, Ru Chen, Jun Yang
(Submitted on 5 Sep 2018)

Comments: 9 pages, 1 table and 4 figures
Subjects: Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP)
Cite as: arXiv:1809.01376 [astro-ph.EP] (or arXiv:1809.01376v1 [astro-ph.EP] for this version)
Submission history
From: Jun Yang
[v1] Wed, 5 Sep 2018 08:17:31 GMT (2335kb,D)

Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA Space Station Payload manager/space biologist, Away Teams, Journalist, Lapsed climber, Synaesthete, Na’Vi-Jedi-Freman-Buddhist-mix, ASL, Devon Island and Everest Base Camp veteran, (he/him) πŸ––πŸ»