National Astronomical Meeting 2014

Abstract submitted for the annual UK National Astronomical Meeting:

We are developing a tool to simulate the atmospheric chemistry of exoplanets, Solar System planets and the early-Earth. We are coupling a chemical network to an existing radiative-convective equilibrium model (Atmo) to study disequilibrium chemistry in 1D. This 1D chemistry model will be able to act as a stand-alone tool but will also be coupled to the Met Office Unified Model (UM); a fully-compressible, non-hydrostatic global circulation model. We will initially apply this model to study hot Jupiter atmospheres, primarily focusing on the formation of high altitude haze which observations increasingly show to be common in these atmospheres.


Initial tests of the 1D model show that we successfully reproduce equilibrium chemistry. Vertical mixing and photochemistry are being tested currently. We are also performing an analysis of uncertainty in chemical kinetic data, which has the potential to significantly affect the chemical abundances particularly for quenching species such as methane and ammonia (Drummond, Tremblin, Baraffe et al. in prep). Preliminary results of this work will be presented as well as an outline of the future plans to apply this flexible model to a range of different planetary atmospheres.


We aim to build a ‘planetary simulator’ applicable to any arbitrary planet and this project focuses on the chemistry. Most past photochemical studies have utilised a 1D model only and inherently 3D processes and characteristics are not correctly represented or lacking entirely.  Coupling disequilibrium chemistry with the 3D UM will provide further understanding of the chemical composition of these atmospheres.

Fingers crossed for a talk.


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