Geophysical Evolution During Rocky Planet Formation

ArXiv 2203.10023 (2022)

Authors:

Tim Lichtenberg, Laura K Schaefer, Miki Nakajima, Rebecca A Fischer

Assimilation of both column‐ and layer‐integrated dust opacity observations in the Martian atmosphere

Earth and Space Science Wiley 8:12 (2021) e2021EA001869

Authors:

Tao Ruan, Rmb Young, Sr Lewis, L Montabone, A Valeanu, Pl Read

Abstract:

A new dust data assimilation scheme has been developed for the UK version of the Laboratoire de Météorologie Dynamique (LMD) Martian General Circulation Model. The Analysis Correction scheme (adapted from the UK Met Office) is applied with active dust lifting and transport to analyze measurements of temperature, and both column-integrated dust optical depth (CIDO), τref (rescaled to a reference level), and layer-integrated dust opacity (LIDO). The results are shown to converge to the assimilated observations, but assimilating either of the dust observation types separately does not produce the best analysis. The most effective dust assimilation is found to require both CIDO (from Mars Odyssey/THEMIS) and LIDO observations, especially for Mars Climate Sounder data that does not access levels close to the surface. The resulting full reanalysis improves the agreement with both in-sample assimilated CIDO and LIDO data and independent observations from outside the assimilated dataset. It is thus able to capture previously elusive details of the dust vertical distribution, including elevated detached dust layers that have not been captured in previous reanalyses. Verification of this reanalysis has been carried out under both clear and dusty atmospheric conditions during Mars Years 28 and 29, using both in-sample and out of sample observations from orbital remote sensing and contemporaneous surface measurements of dust opacity from the Spirit and Opportunity landers. The reanalysis was also compared with a recent version of the Mars Climate Database (MCD v5), demonstrating generally good agreement though with some systematic differences in both time mean fields and day-to-day variability.

New Evidence for Wet Accretion of Inner Solar System Planetesimals from Meteorites Chelyabinsk and Benenitra

Planetary Science Journal 2:6 (2021)

Authors:

Z Jin, M Bose, T Lichtenberg, GD Mulders

Abstract:

We investigated the hydrogen isotopic compositions and water contents of pyroxenes in two recent ordinary chondrite falls, namely, Chelyabinsk (2013 fall) and Benenitra (2018 fall), and compared them to three ordinary chondrite Antarctic finds, namely, Graves Nunataks GRA 06179, Larkman Nunatak LAR 12241, and Dominion Range DOM 10035. The pyroxene minerals in Benenitra and Chelyabinsk are hydrated (∼0.018–0.087 wt.% H2O) and show D-poor isotopic signatures (δDSMOW from −444 to −49). On the contrary, the ordinary chondrite finds exhibit evidence of terrestrial contamination with elevated water contents (∼0.039–0.174 wt.%) and δDSMOW values (from −199 to −14). We evaluated several small parent-body processes that are likely to alter the measured compositions in Benenitra and Chelyabinsk and inferred that water loss in S-type planetesimals is minimal during thermal metamorphism. Benenitra and Chelyabinsk hydrogen compositions reflect a mixed component of D-poor nebular hydrogen and water from the D-rich mesostases. A total of 45%–95% of water in the minerals characterized by low δDSMOW values was contributed by nebular hydrogen. S-type asteroids dominantly composed of nominally anhydrous minerals can hold 254–518 ppm of water. Addition of a nebular water component to nominally dry inner solar system bodies during accretion suggests a reduced need of volatile delivery to the terrestrial planets during late accretion.

The circularization timescales of late–type binary stars

Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society Oxford University Press (OUP) (2021)

Authors:

Caroline Terquem, Scott Martin

Abstract:

We examine the consequences of, and apply, the formalism developed in Terquem (2021) for calculating the rate DR at which energy is exchanged between fast tides and convection. In this previous work, DR (which is proportional to the gradient of the convective velocity) was assumed to be positive in order to dissipate the tidal energy. Here we argue that, even if energy is intermittently transferred from convection to the tides, it must ultimately return to the convective flow and transported efficiently to the stellar surface on the convective timescale. This is consistent with, but much less restrictive than, enforcing DR > 0. Our principle result is a calculation of the circularization timescale of late-type binaries, taking into account the full time evolution of the stellar structure. We find that circularization is very efficient during the PMS phase, inefficient during the MS, and once again efficient when the star approaches the RGB. These results are in much better agreement with observations than earlier theories. We also apply our formalism to hot Jupiters, and find that tidal dissipation in a Jupiter mass planet yields a circularization timescale of 1 Gyr for an orbital period of 3 d, also in good overall agreement with observations. The approach here is novel, and the apparent success of the theory in resolving longstanding timescale puzzles is compelling.

Inferring shallow surfaces on sub-neptune exoplanets with JWST

The Astrophysical Journal Letters IOP Publishing 922:2 (2021) L27

Authors:

Shang-Min Tsai, Hamish Innes, Tim Lichtenberg, Jake Taylor, Matej Malik, Katy Chubb, Raymond Pierrehumbert

Abstract:

Planets smaller than Neptune and larger than Earth make up the majority of the discovered exoplanets. Those with H2-rich atmospheres are prime targets for atmospheric characterization. The transition between the two main classes, super-Earths and sub-Neptunes, is not clearly understood as the rocky surface is likely not accessible to observations. Tracking several trace gases (specifically the loss of ammonia (NH3) and hydrogen cyanide (HCN)) has been proposed as a proxy for the presence of a shallow surface. In this work, we revisit the proposed mechanism of nitrogen conversion in detail and find its timescale on the order of a million years. NH3 exhibits dual paths converting to N2 or HCN, depending on the UV radiation of the star and the stage of the system. In addition, methanol (CH3OH) is identified as a robust and complementary proxy for a shallow surface. We follow the fiducial example of K2-18b with a 2D photochemical model on an equatorial plane. We find a fairly uniform composition distribution below 0.1 mbar controlled by the dayside, as a result of slow chemical evolution. NH3 and CH3OH are concluded to be the most unambiguous proxies to infer surfaces on sub-Neptunes in the era of the James Webb Space Telescope.