Icy Worlds

Potential Surface Ice Distribution On Close-in Terrestrial Exoplanets Around M dwarfs

By Keith Cowing
Status Report
May 9, 2024
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Potential Surface Ice Distribution On Close-in Terrestrial Exoplanets Around M dwarfs
Surface temperature distribution in the reference simulation on planets with a thin N2 atmosphere (unit: Kelvin). The pink contour marks the critical temperature of ∼220 K permitting the existence of permanent surface ice. — astro-ph.EP

Previous studies suggested that surface ice could be distributed on close-in terrestrial exoplanets around M-dwarfs if heat redistribution on the planets is very inefficient.

In general, orbital and atmospheric parameters play an important role in the climate on terrestrial planets, including the cold-trap region where the permanent surface water reservoir can potentially be distributed.

Here, we develop a simple coupled land-atmosphere model to explore the potential surface ice distribution on close-in terrestrial planets with various orbital and atmospheric parameters, assuming that the planets are airless or have a thin N2 atmosphere. We find that the most significant factors in deciding the surface cold trap region are the spin-orbit ratio and obliquity.

The incident stellar flux and the surface pressure play a limited role in the thin N2 simulations for incident flux smaller than Mercury’s and surface pressure lower than 104 Pa. Our result illustrates the possible distribution of surface ice on arid terrestrial planets and can help to understand the climate of these exoplanets.

Yueyun Ouyang, Feng Ding

Comments: Accepted at Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Subjects: Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP)
Cite as: arXiv:2405.05013 [astro-ph.EP] (or arXiv:2405.05013v1 [astro-ph.EP] for this version)
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Submission history
From: Yueyun Ouyang
[v1] Wed, 8 May 2024 12:26:25 UTC (77 KB)

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) 🖖🏻