Vivien Parmentier

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Vivien Parmentier

Associate Professor of Physical Climate Science

I am an associate professor in physics. I use large and small models to make sense of space and ground based observations of exoplanets.

More details can be found here :

I teach 1st year electrodynamics, 2nd thermodynamics and 3rd year fluid mechanics at somerville college (

In the last decades we have discovered several thousands planets orbiting other stars than our sun and we are now able to detect and characterize their atmosphere. Both ground based and space based observatories can measure the transmission spectrum (when the planet goes in front of it's star and stellar light is filtered by the atmosphere) and the emission spectrum of these planets. Species such as water and sodium are now routinely being detected, but other such as methane have been elusive.

These planets are 3D objects where atmospheric circulation, radiative transfer, chemical reactions and cloud formation interact with each other to create complex patterns. The observations, however, only capture the averaged atmospheric properties. I compare a suite of models from 1D radiative transfer to 3D global circulation models to guide my intuition towards a global understanding of exoplanet atmospheres.