Modelling the formation of atmospheric dust in brown dwarfs and planetary atmospheres

Christiane Helling*, Aleksejs Fomins

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Atmospheric dust from volcanoes, sand storms and biogenic products provides condensation seeds for water cloud formation on the Earth. Extrasolar planetary objects such as brown dwarfs and extrasolar giant planets have no comparable sources of condensation seeds. Hence, understanding cloud formation and further its implications for the climate requires a modelling effort that includes the treatment of seed formation (nucleation), growth and evaporation, in addition to rain-out, mixing and gas-phase depletion. This paper discusses nucleation in the ultra-cool atmospheres of brown dwarfs and extrasolar giant planets whose chemical gas-phase composition differs largely from the terrestrial atmosphere. A kinetic model for atmospheric dust formation is described, which, in recent work, has become part of a cloud-formation model. For the first time, diffusive replenishment of the upper atmosphere is introduced as a source term into our model equations. This paper further aims to show how experimental and computational chemistry work links into our dust-formation model, which is driven by applications in extraterrestrial environments.

Original languageEnglish
Article number20110581
Number of pages22
JournalPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society. A, Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences
Volume371
Issue number1994
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 13 Jul 2013

Keywords

  • dust formation
  • cloud
  • brown dwarfs
  • diffusion
  • nucleation
  • HUBBLE-SPACE-TELESCOPE
  • STATIC CLOUD LAYERS
  • AL2O3 MOLECULE
  • STELLAR WINDS
  • HD 189733B
  • AB-INITIO
  • GROWTH
  • HAZE
  • SEDIMENTATION
  • EVAPORATION

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