Earth’s polar night boundary layer as an analogue for dark side inversions on synchronously rotating terrestrial exoplanets

Joshi, Manoj ORCID:, Elvidge, Andrew ORCID:, Wordsworth, Robin and Sergeev, Denis (2020) Earth’s polar night boundary layer as an analogue for dark side inversions on synchronously rotating terrestrial exoplanets. The Astrophysical Journal Letters, 892 (2). ISSN 2041-8205

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A key factor in determining the potential habitability of synchronously rotating planets is the strength of the atmospheric boundary layer inversion between the dark side surface and the free atmosphere. Here we analyse data obtained from polar night measurements at the South Pole and Alert Canada, which are the closest analogues on Earth to conditions on the dark sides of synchronously rotating exoplanets without and with a maritime influence, respectively. On Earth, such inversions rarely exceed 30 K in strength, because of the effect of turbulent mixing induced by phenomena such as so-called mesoscale slope winds, which have horizontal scales of 10s to 100s of km, suggesting a similar constraint to near-surface dark side inversions. We discuss the sensitivity of inversion strength to factors such as orography and the global-scale circulation, and compare them to a simulation of the planet Proxima Centauri b. Our results demonstrate the importance of comparisons with Earth data in exoplanet research, and highlight the need for further studies of the exoplanet atmospheric collapse problem using mesoscale and eddy-resolving models.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: atmospheric science,circulation,climate,exoplanet atmospheres,exoplanet atmospheric composition,exoplanet atmospheric variability,exoplanet surface characteristics,exoplanet surface variability,exoplanets,habitable planets,land,land-atmosphere interactions,mars,model,planets,planetary atmospheres,planetary boundary layers,sdg 13 - climate action ,/dk/atira/pure/sustainabledevelopmentgoals/climate_action
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Science > School of Environmental Sciences
University of East Anglia Research Groups/Centres > Theme - ClimateUEA
UEA Research Groups: Faculty of Science > Research Groups > Centre for Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences
Faculty of Science > Research Groups > Climatic Research Unit
University of East Anglia Schools > Faculty of Science > Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research
Faculty of Science > Research Centres > Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research
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Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 18 Mar 2020 07:17
Last Modified: 14 Jun 2023 23:46
DOI: 10.3847/2041-8213/ab7fb3

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