Atmospheric circulation of hot jupiters: Coupled radiative-dynamical general circulation model simulations of HD 189733b and HD 209458b

Adam P. Showman, Jonathan J. Fortney, Yuan Lian, Mark S. Marley, Richard S. Freedman, Heather A. Knutson, David Charbonneau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

355 Scopus citations


We present global, three-dimensional numerical simulations of HD 189733b and HD 209458b that couple the atmospheric dynamics to a realistic representation of nongray cloud-free radiative transfer. The model, which we call the Substellar and Planetary Atmospheric Radiation and Circulation model, adopts the MITgcm for the dynamics and uses the radiative model of McKay, Marley, Fortney, and collaborators for the radiation. Like earlier work with simplified forcing, our simulations develop a broad eastward equatorial jet, mean westward flow at higher latitudes, and substantial flow over the poles at low pressure. For HD 189733b, our simulations without TiO and VO opacity can explain the broad features of the observed 8 and 24 μm light curves, including the modest day-night flux variation and the fact that the planet/star flux ratio peaks before the secondary eclipse. Our simulations also provide reasonable matches to the Spitzer secondary-eclipse depths at 4.5, 5.8, 8, 16, and 24 μm and the ground-based upper limit at 2.2 μm. However, we substantially underpredict the 3.6 μm secondary-eclipse depth, suggesting that our simulations are too cold in the 0.1-1 bar region. Predicted temporal variability in secondary-eclipse depths is 1% at Spitzer bandpasses, consistent with recent observational upper limits at 8 μm. We also show that nonsynchronous rotation can significantly alter the jet structure. For HD 209458b, we include TiO and VO opacity; these simulations develop a hot (>2000 K) dayside stratosphere whose horizontal dimensions are small at depth but widen with altitude. Despite this stratosphere, we do not reproduce current Spitzer photometry of this planet. Light curves in Spitzer bandpasses show modest phase variation and satisfy the observational upper limit on day-night phase variation at 8 μm.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)564-584
Number of pages21
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2009


  • Atmospheric effects
  • Methods: numerical
  • Planets and satellites: general
  • Planets and satellites: individual (HD 209458b, HD 189733b)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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