Kevin Heng (University of Bern)
Thursday December 18th - 11am IPAG Seminar Room - IPAG
Understanding the atmospheres of exoplanets is the next frontier of exoplanet science. I will review the physics and chemistry associated with exoplanetary atmospheres. My focus is on the assumptions and techniques associated with theory and simulation and how they may influence (or even mislead) our interpretation of the data. First, I will discuss atmospheric radiative transfer and inversion (retrieval) techniques, reviewing the progress made in the field so far and critiquing the approximations and mindsets adopted by various researchers. I will then discuss the use of the C/O ratio as a thermochemical partitioning parameter and describe our approach to understanding chemical kinetics. Finally, I will discuss why atmospheric dynamics is needed to progress beyond 1D models (that are almost certainly inadequate, depending on the question being asked) and provide a summary of what has been accomplished so far and what needs to be done in the future. Some of the material I will discuss may be found in Heng & Showman (2015, Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences).
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