ATMOSPHERIC CIRCULATION OF HOT JUPITERS: DAYSIDE-NIGHTSIDE TEMPERATURE DIFFERENCES

Thaddeus D. Komacek, Adam P. Showman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

89 Scopus citations

Abstract

The full-phase infrared light curves of low-eccentricity hot Jupiters show a trend of increasing dayside-to-nightside brightness temperature difference with increasing equilibrium temperature. Here, we present a three-dimensional model that explains this relationship, in order to provide insight into the processes that control heat redistribution in tidally locked planetary atmospheres. This three-dimensional model combines predictive analytic theory for the atmospheric circulation and dayside-nightside temperature differences over a range of equilibrium temperatures, atmospheric compositions, and potential frictional drag strengths with numerical solutions of the circulation that verify this analytic theory. The theory shows that the longitudinal propagation of waves mediates dayside-nightside temperature differences in hot Jupiter atmospheres, analogous to the wave adjustment mechanism that regulates the thermal structure in Earth's tropics. These waves can be damped in hot Jupiter atmospheres by either radiative cooling or potential frictional drag. This frictional drag would likely be caused by Lorentz forces in a partially ionized atmosphere threaded by a background magnetic field, and would increase in strength with increasing temperature. Additionally, the amplitude of radiative heating and cooling increases with increasing temperature, and hence both radiative heating/cooling and frictional drag damp waves more efficiently with increasing equilibrium temperature. Radiative heating and cooling play the largest role in controlling dayside-nightside temperature differences in both our analytic theory and numerical simulations, with frictional drag only being important if it is stronger than the Coriolis force. As a result, dayside-nightside temperature differences in hot Jupiter atmospheres increase with increasing stellar irradiation and decrease with increasing pressure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number16
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Volume821
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 10 2016

Keywords

  • analytical - methods
  • atmospheres - planets and satellites
  • gaseous planets
  • hydrodynamics - methods
  • numerical - planets and satellites

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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