Exoplanet weather and climate regimes with clouds and thermal ionospheres: A model grid study in support of large-scale observational campaigns

Christiane Helling, Dominic Samra, David Lewis, Robb Calder, Georgina Hirst, Peter Woitke, Robin Baeyens, Ludmila Carone, Oliver Herbort, Katy L. Chubb

Publikation: ArbeitspapierPreprint


With observational efforts moving from the discovery into the characterisation mode, systematic campaigns that cover large ranges of global stellar and planetary parameters will be needed. We aim to uncover cloud formation trends and globally changing chemical regimes due to the host star's effect on the thermodynamic structure of their atmospheres. We aim to provide input for exoplanet missions like JWST, PLATO, and Ariel, as well as potential UV missions ARAGO, PolStar or POLLUX. Pre-calculated 3D GCMs for M, K, G, F host stars are the input for our kinetic cloud model. Gaseous exoplanets fall broadly into three classes: i) cool planets with homogeneous cloud coverage, ii) intermediate temperature planets with asymmetric dayside cloud coverage, and iii) ultra-hot planets without clouds on the dayside. In class ii),} the dayside cloud patterns are shaped by the wind flow and irradiation. Surface gravity and planetary rotation have little effect. Extended atmosphere profiles suggest the formation of mineral haze in form of metal-oxide clusters (e.g. (TiO2)_N). The dayside cloud coverage is the tell-tale sign for the different planetary regimes and their resulting weather and climate appearance. Class (i) is representative of planets with a very homogeneous cloud particle size and material compositions across the globe (e.g., HATS-6b, NGTS-1b), classes (ii, e.g., WASP-43b, HD\,209458b) and (iii, e.g., WASP-121b, WP0137b) have a large day/night divergence of the cloud properties. The C/O ratio is, hence, homogeneously affected in class (i), but asymmetrically in class (ii) and (iii). The atmospheres of class (i) and (ii) planets are little affected by thermal ionisation, but class (iii) planets exhibit a deep ionosphere on the dayside. Magnetic coupling will therefore affect different planets differently and will be more efficient on the more extended, cloud-free dayside.
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 10 Aug. 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomie und Astrophysik
  • Oberflächen und Grenzflächen

Fields of Expertise

  • Advanced Materials Science


  • NAWI Graz


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