Special Harvard Climate Seminar: Raymond Pierrehumbert


Tuesday, January 30, 2018, 3:00pm


HUCE Seminar Room MCZ 440
Climate dynamics of lava planets
Raymond T. Pierrehumbert
Halley Professor of Physics, University of Oxford

Lava planets are rocky planets in orbits sufficiently close to their host stars that they are tide locked with a substellar temperature above the liquidus of typical silicate minerals. Such planets have a permanent dayside magma ocean.  Corot 7b was the first lava planet to have been discovered, but many more have entered the catalogue since, of which the best characterized so far is 55 Cancri e. I will discuss the atmospheric dynamics of lava planets, with particular emphasis on 55 Cancri e, for which case we conclude that the best fit to the observed phase curve demands a moderately thick non condensible background atmosphere rather than a thin mineral vapor atmosphere localized to the dayside. Our earlier work on this problem made use of idealized gray-gas radiation with diagnostic clouds. In this lecture I will present updated results with real-gas radiative transfer for CO dominated atmospheres, and simulations incorporating  multi species mineral vapor cloud physics. As in our idealized simulations, the dayside is largely clear-sky, with clouds forming only on the nightside. The simulation exhibits a rich variety of clouds, which will have a strong effect on the thermal emission signature.