Journal Article

Gliese 581g as a scaled-up version of Earth: atmospheric circulation simulations

Kevin Heng and Steven S. Vogt

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 415, issue 3, pages 2145-2157
Published in print August 2011 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online August 2011 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI:
Gliese 581g as a scaled-up version of Earth: atmospheric circulation simulations

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We use 3D simulations to study the atmospheric circulation on the first Earth-sized exoplanet discovered in the habitable zone of an M star. We treat Gliese 581g as a scaled-up version of Earth by considering increased values for the exoplanetary radius and surface gravity, while retaining terrestrial values for parameters which are unconstrained by current observations. We examine the long-term, global temperature and wind maps near the surface of the exoplanet – the climate. The specific locations for habitability on Gliese 581g depend on whether the exoplanet is tidally locked and how fast radiative cooling occurs on a global scale. Independent of whether the existence of Gliese 581g is confirmed, our study highlights the use of general circulation models to quantify the atmospheric circulation on potentially habitable, Earth-sized exoplanets, which will be the prime targets of exoplanet discovery and characterization campaigns in the next decade.

Keywords: astrobiology; methods: numerical; planets and satellites: atmospheres

Journal Article.  7246 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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