STRATOSPHERIC TEMPERATURES and WATER LOSS from MOIST GREENHOUSE ATMOSPHERES of EARTH-LIKE PLANETS

James F. Kasting, Howard Chen, Ravi K. Kopparapu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

23 Scopus citations

Abstract

A radiative-convective climate model is used to calculate stratospheric temperatures and water vapor concentrations for ozone-free atmospheres warmer than that of modern Earth. Cold, dry stratospheres are predicted at low surface temperatures, in agreement with recent 3D calculations. However, at surface temperatures above 350 K, the stratosphere warms and water vapor becomes a major upper atmospheric constituent, allowing water to be lost by photodissociation and hydrogen escape. Hence, a moist greenhouse explanation for loss of water from Venus, or some exoplanet receiving a comparable amount of stellar radiation, remains a viable hypothesis. Temperatures in the upper parts of such atmospheres are well below those estimated for a gray atmosphere, and this factor should be taken into account when performing inverse climate calculations to determine habitable zone boundaries using 1D models.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberL3
JournalAstrophysical Journal Letters
Volume813
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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