Extrasolar Planets

Energy Budgets for Terrestrial Extrasolar Planets

By Keith Cowing
Press Release
September 17, 2019
Filed under
Energy Budgets for Terrestrial Extrasolar Planets
Terrestrial planets

The pathways through which incoming energy is distributed between the surface and atmosphere has been analyzed for the Earth. However, the effect of the spectral energy distribution of a host star on the energy budget of an orbiting planet may be significant given the wavelength-dependent absorption properties of atmospheric CO2 and water vapor, and surface ice and snow.

We have quantified the flow of energy on aqua planets orbiting M-, G-, and F-dwarf stars, using a 3D Global Climate Model with a static ocean. The atmosphere and surface of an M-dwarf planet receiving an instellation equal to 88% of the modern solar constant at the top of the atmosphere absorb 12% more incoming stellar radiation than those of a G-dwarf planet receiving 100% of the modern solar constant, and 17% more radiation than a F-dwarf planet receiving 108% of the modern solar constant, resulting in climates similar to modern-day Earth on all three planets, assuming a 24-hr rotation period and fixed CO2.

At 100% instellation, a synchronously-rotating M-dwarf planet exhibits smaller flux absorption in the atmosphere and on the surface of the dayside, and a dayside mean surface temperature that is 37 K colder than its rapidly-rotating counterpart. Energy budget diagrams are included to illustrate the variations in global energy budgets as a function of host star spectral class, and can contribute to habitability assessments of planets as they are discovered.

Aomawa L. Shields, Cecilia M. Bitz, Igor Palubski
(Submitted on 16 Sep 2019)

Comments: 10 pages, 3 figures, 2 tables. Accepted for publication in The Astrophysical Journal Letters
Subjects: Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP)
Cite as: arXiv:1909.07418 [astro-ph.EP] (or arXiv:1909.07418v1 [astro-ph.EP] for this version)
Submission history
From: Aomawa Shields
[v1] Mon, 16 Sep 2019 18:12:13 UTC (856 KB)

SpaceRef co-founder, Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA, Away Teams, Journalist, Space & Astrobiology, Lapsed climber.