AuthorLewis, Nikole Kae
AdvisorShowman, Adam P.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThis dissertation explores the three-dimensional coupling between radiative and dynamical processes in the atmospheres of eccentric extrasolar giant planets GJ436b, HAT-P-2b, and HD80606b. Extrasolar planets on eccentric orbits are subject to time-variable heating and probable non-synchronous rotation, which results in significant variations in global circulation and thermal patterns as a function of orbital phase. Atmospheric simulations for the low eccentricity (e=0.15) Neptune sized planet GJ436b reveal that when Neptune-like atmospheric compositions are assumed day/night temperature contrasts and equatorial jet speeds are significantly increased relative to models that assume a solar-like composition. Comparisons between our theoretical light curves and recent observations support a high metallicity atmosphere with disequilibrium carbon chemistry for GJ436b. The analysis of full-orbit light curve observations at 3.6 and 4.5 microns of the HAT-P-2 system reveal swings in the planet's temperature of more than 900 K during its significantly eccentric (e=0.5) orbit with a four to six hour offset between periapse passage and the peak of the planet's observed flux. Comparisons between our atmospheric model of HAT-P-2b and the observed light curves indicate an increased carbon to oxygen ratio in HAT-P-2b's atmosphere compared to solar values. Atmospheric simulations of the highly eccentric (e=0.9) HD80606b show that flash-heating events completely alter planetary thermal and jet structures and that assumptions about the rotation period of this planet could affect the shape of light curve observations near periapse. Our simulations of HD80606b also show the development an atmospheric shock on the nightside of the planet that is associated with an observable thermal signature in our theoretical light curves. The simulations and observations presented in this dissertation mark an important step in the exploration of atmospheric circulation on the more than 300 exoplanets known to possess significantly non-zero eccentricities.
Degree ProgramGraduate College