Publications associated with Ice and Fluid Dynamics

Atmospheric circulation of tide-locked exoplanets

Annual Review of Fluid Mechanics Annual Reviews 51 (2018) 75-303

R Pierrehumbert, M Hammond

Tide-locked planets are planets in which tidal stresses from the host star have spun down the planet’s rotation to the point where its length of side-real day equals its length of year. In a nearly circular orbit, such planets have a permanent dayside and a permanent nightside, leading to extreme heating contrasts. In this article, the atmospheric circulations forced by this heating contrast are explored, with a focus on terrestrial planets; here, “terrestrial” refers to planets with a condensed solid or liquid surface at which most of the incident stellar radiation is absorbed and does not imply habitability in the Earthlike sense. The census of exoplanets contains many terrestrial planets that are very likely to be tide locked, including extremely hot close-orbit planets around Sunlike stars and habitable zone (and hotter) planets around lower-mass stars. The circulations are discussed in terms of fluid dynamical concepts arising from study of the Earth’s tropics, supplemented by general circulation model simulations. Even in the relatively simple context of dry (noncondensing) dynamics, there are a number of important unresolved issues that require further study.

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