Planetary and exoplanetary Astronomy Lunch Seminar (PALS) for 2022-10-17

Series: Planetary and exoplanetary Astronomy Lunch Seminar (PALS)
Date: Monday 17-October-2022
Time: 11:15-12:15
Location: Zoom (contact for link)
Speaker: Victoria Hartwick
Title: Dusty Dune Worlds & ExoMars: How dust controls climate, alters habitability and cofounds easy spectral identification

Abstract: The dust cycle is the dominant driver of meteorology and climate on present-day Mars. Despite this, few studies have investigated the impact of dust interacting with incoming stellar radiation on the climate, habitability and potential spectral signature of Mars-like exo-land planets. Dust availability is positively correlated with increasing soil aridity and therefore dust has significant potential to modify dynamics on dry land planets. In this work, we use an advanced Mars general circulation model to study the coupling between radiatively active dust and land planet climate at different stellar heating rates or planetary orbits. We find that radiatively active dust can significantly modify land planet climate. At Earth orbit, dust with optical properties similar to present-day Mars warms the planetary surface above 273K and augments both the zonal mean circulation and the thermal tide, and in particular the semi-diurnal component. As dust accumulates, peak heating rises off the planetary surface and the most active regions of dust lifting shift from the summer to winter hemisphere. Simulated spectra are nearly featureless across all wavelengths. We find that in order to accurately assess the climate and habitability of land planets it is critical to carefully consider that potential atmospheric dust budget and its radiative impact.

For further information contact PALS coordinator Tad Komacek at


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