Astrophys. J., 845, 5-5 (2017/August-2)
Habitable moist atmospheres on terrestrial planets near the inner edge of the habitable zone around M dwarfs.
KOPPARAPU R.K., WOLF E.T., ARNEY G., BATALHA N.E., HAQQ-MISRA J., GRIMM S.L. and HENG K.
Abstract (from CDS):
Terrestrial planets in the habitable zones (HZs) of low-mass stars and cool dwarfs have received significant scrutiny recently. Transit spectroscopy of such planets with the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) represents our best shot at obtaining the spectrum of a habitable planet within the next decade. As these planets are likely tidally locked, improved 3D numerical simulations of such planetary atmospheres are needed to guide target selection. Here we use a 3D climate system model, updated with new water-vapor absorption coefficients derived from the HITRAN 2012 database, to study ocean-covered planets at the inner edge of the HZ around late M to mid-K stars (2600 K Teff 4500 K). Our results indicate that these updated water-vapor coefficients result in significant warming compared to previous studies, so the inner HZ around M dwarfs is not as close as suggested by earlier work. Assuming synchronously rotating Earth-sized and Earth-mass planets with background 1 bar N2 atmospheres, we find that planets at the inner HZ of stars with Teff 3000 K undergo the classical "moist greenhouse" (H2O mixing ratio 10–3 in the stratosphere) at significantly lower surface temperature (∼280 K) in our 3D model compared with 1D climate models (∼340 K). This implies that some planets around low-mass stars can simultaneously undergo water loss and remain habitable. However, for stars with Teff 3000 K, planets at the inner HZ may directly transition to a runaway state, while bypassing the moist greenhouse water loss entirely. We analyze transmission spectra of planets in a moist greenhouse regime and find that there are several prominent H2O features, including a broad feature between 5 and 8 µm, within JWST MIRI instrument range. Thus, relying only on standard Earth-analog spectra with 24 hr rotation period around M dwarfs for habitability studies will miss the strong H2O features that one would expect to see on synchronously rotating planets around M dwarf stars, with JWST.
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planets and satellites: atmospheres - planets and satellites: composition - planets and satellites: detection - planets and satellites: terrestrial planets - stars: low-mass - stars: low-mass
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