Special Issue "Modeling and Simulation of Planetary Atmospheres"

A special issue of Atmosphere (ISSN 2073-4433). This special issue belongs to the section "Planetary Atmospheres".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 29 November 2021.

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Timothy E. Dowling
E-Mail Website
Collection Editor
Atmospheric Science Program, Department of Physics & Astronomy, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY 40292, USA
Interests: planetary atmospheric dynamics; jet streams; vortices; shear instability; comparative planetology

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

We have just successfully finished the first half-century of planetary exploration, and marched confidently into the second, armed with an impressive array of dynamical and chemical models developed to analyze, compare, and understand planetary atmospheres, both inside and outside our solar system.

In recognition of this milestone, the open-access journal Atmosphere is hosting a Topical Collection to showcase current planetary atmospheric models, simulation capabilities, and results. With the advent of boots-on-the-ground astronauts on Mars, as well as the planning of unmanned flying platforms, such as drones on Titan and ramjets on Jupiter, this Topical Collection is also an appropriate venue for papers that deal with the emerging field of the operational forecasting of planetary atmospheres.

Original results, review papers, and model expositions related to the simulation of planetary atmospheric dynamics and chemistry, both inside and outside our solar system, are all welcome contributions. Authors are encouraged to consider including comparative planetology and model-user accessibility in their discourse whenever appropriate, and to optionally include a section touching on future issues, opportunities, and/or concerns related to their topics, on the 5-, 10-, and 20-year horizons.

The main goals are for this Topical Collection to be a useful starting point for students, a valuable snapshot of the overarching field for practitioners, and a means of stimulating model interoperability, multidisciplinary collaborations, and new functionality, across the entire hierarchy, from idealized process modeling, to regional, global, fluid-interior, and whole-atmosphere simulations, to planetary operational forecasting.

Sincerely,

Prof. Dr. Timothy E. Dowling
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Atmosphere is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • jet streams
  • polar vortices
  • waves
  • clouds and moist processes
  • atmospheric chemistry
  • tenuous atmospheres
  • planetary weather forecasting
  • exoplanet atmospheres
  • comparative planetology

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Research

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Article
Transport Characteristics of the Electrification and Lightning of the Gas Mixture Representing the Atmospheres of the Solar System Planets
Atmosphere 2021, 12(4), 438; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos12040438 - 29 Mar 2021
Viewed by 505
Abstract
Electrification represents a fundamental process in planetary atmospheres, widespread in the Solar System. The atmospheres of the terrestrial planets (Venus, Earth, and Mars) range from thin to thick are rich in heavier gases and gaseous compounds, such as carbon dioxide, nitrogen, oxygen, argon, [...] Read more.
Electrification represents a fundamental process in planetary atmospheres, widespread in the Solar System. The atmospheres of the terrestrial planets (Venus, Earth, and Mars) range from thin to thick are rich in heavier gases and gaseous compounds, such as carbon dioxide, nitrogen, oxygen, argon, sodium, sulfur dioxide, and carbon monoxide. The Jovian planets (Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune) have thick atmospheres mainly composed of hydrogen and helium involving. The electrical discharge processes occur in the planetary atmospheres leading to potential hazards due to arcing on landers and rovers. Lightning does not only affect the atmospheric chemical composition but also has been involved in the origin of life in the terrestrial atmosphere. This paper is dealing with the transport parameters and the breakdown voltage curves of the gas compositions representing atmospheres of the planets of the Solar System. Ionization coefficients, electron energy distribution functions, and the mean energy of the atmospheric gas mixtures have been calculated by BOLSIG+. Transport parameters of the carbon dioxide rich atmospheric compositions are similar but differ from those of the Earth’s atmosphere. Small differences between parameters of the Solar System’s outer planets can be explained by a small abundance of their constituent gases as compared to the abundance of hydrogen. Based on the fit of the reduced effective ionization coefficient, the breakdown voltage curves for atmospheric mixtures have been plotted. It was found that the breakdown voltage curves corresponding to the atmospheres of Solar System planets follow the standard scaling law. Results of calculations satisfactorily agree with the available data from the literature. The minimal and the maximal value of the voltage required to trigger electric breakdown is obtained for the Martian and Jupiter atmospheres, respectively. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Modeling and Simulation of Planetary Atmospheres)
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Article
PlanetCARMA: A New Framework for Studying the Microphysics of Planetary Atmospheres
Atmosphere 2020, 11(10), 1064; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos11101064 - 06 Oct 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 703
Abstract
The Community Aerosol and Radiation Model for Atmospheres (CARMA) has been updated to apply to atmospheres of the Solar System outside of Earth. CARMA, as its name suggests, is a coupled aerosol microphysics and radiative transfer model and includes the processes of nucleation, [...] Read more.
The Community Aerosol and Radiation Model for Atmospheres (CARMA) has been updated to apply to atmospheres of the Solar System outside of Earth. CARMA, as its name suggests, is a coupled aerosol microphysics and radiative transfer model and includes the processes of nucleation, condensation, evaporation, coagulation, and vertical transport. Previous model versions have been applied separately to the atmospheres of Solar System bodies and extrasolar planets. The primary advantage to PlanetCARMA is that the core physics routines each reside in their own self-contained modules and can be turned on/off as desired while a separate planet module supplies all the necessary parameters to apply the model run to a particular planet (or planetary body). So a single codebase is used for all planetary studies. PlanetCARMA has also been updated to Fortran 90 modular format. Examples of outer solar system atmosphere applications are shown. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Modeling and Simulation of Planetary Atmospheres)
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Article
A Numerical Investigation of the Berg Feature on Uranus as a Vortex-Driven System
Atmosphere 2020, 11(1), 52; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos11010052 - 01 Jan 2020
Viewed by 888
Abstract
The Berg cloud feature in the atmosphere of Uranus was first identified as a persistent grouping of clouds located just off the bright South Polar Collar at a latitude of around −34 degrees. Ongoing observations of this feature through the 1990s and 2000s [...] Read more.
The Berg cloud feature in the atmosphere of Uranus was first identified as a persistent grouping of clouds located just off the bright South Polar Collar at a latitude of around −34 degrees. Ongoing observations of this feature through the 1990s and 2000s suggested that the feature was oscillating in location by a few degrees in latitude for several years, and then unexpectedly began to drift towards the equator, which continued over the final 4 years until the cloud dissipated. One possible explanation for such a persistent drifting cloud is that it is a cloud-vortex system, in which an unseen vortex drives the creation of the cloud and the motions of the vortex control the cloud location. To explore this possibility, a series of vortices are studied numerically using the Explicit Planetary Isentropic Coordinate General Circulation Model (EPIC GCM). The evolution of these test vortices are simulated to examine their drift rates and the potential for cloud formation. The results indicate that conditions on Uranus could result in an equatorward drifting vortex over a range of latitudes and that significant cloud formation could occur, potentially obscuring observations of the vortex. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Modeling and Simulation of Planetary Atmospheres)
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Article
The Effect of Clouds as an Additional Opacity Source on the Inferred Metallicity of Giant Exoplanets
Atmosphere 2019, 10(11), 664; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos10110664 - 30 Oct 2019
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1078
Abstract
Atmospheres regulate the planetary heat loss and therefore influence planetary thermal evolution. Uncertainty in a giant planet’s thermal state contributes to the uncertainty in the inferred abundance of heavy elements it contains. Within an analytic atmosphere model, we here investigate the influence that [...] Read more.
Atmospheres regulate the planetary heat loss and therefore influence planetary thermal evolution. Uncertainty in a giant planet’s thermal state contributes to the uncertainty in the inferred abundance of heavy elements it contains. Within an analytic atmosphere model, we here investigate the influence that different cloud opacities and cloud depths can have on the metallicity of irradiated extrasolar gas giants, which is inferred from interior models. In this work, the link between inferred metallicity and assumed cloud properties is the thermal profile of atmosphere and interior. Therefore, we perform coupled atmosphere, interior, and evolution calculations. The atmosphere model includes clouds in a much simplified manner; it includes long-wave absorption but neglects shortwave scattering. Within that model, we show that optically thick, high clouds have negligible influence, whereas deep-seated, optically very thick clouds can lead to warmer deep tropospheres and therefore higher bulk heavy element mass estimates. For the young hot Jupiter WASP-10b, we find a possible enhancement in inferred metallicity of up to 10% due to possible silicate clouds at ∼0.3 bar. For WASP-39b, whose observationally derived metallicity is higher than predicted by cloudless models, we find an enhancement by at most 50%. However, further work on cloud properties and their self-consistent coupling to the atmospheric structure is needed in order to reduce uncertainties in the choice of model parameter values, in particular of cloud opacities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Modeling and Simulation of Planetary Atmospheres)
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Article
Topographic Effects on Titan’s Dune-Forming Winds
Atmosphere 2019, 10(10), 600; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos10100600 - 03 Oct 2019
Viewed by 1218
Abstract
The Cassini mission made an unexpected discovery when it found evidence of linear dune fields on Titan’s surface. The orientation of the dunes and their interaction with topography allow scientists to estimate the dominant wind direction on the surface of Titan. There is [...] Read more.
The Cassini mission made an unexpected discovery when it found evidence of linear dune fields on Titan’s surface. The orientation of the dunes and their interaction with topography allow scientists to estimate the dominant wind direction on the surface of Titan. There is some consensus in the community that the dune-forming winds must be net westerly, however, there is an active debate about the dune-forming wind regime. This debate has been guided by several studies of Earth dune fields considered analogous to the Titan dunes including those in Namibia, the Sahara, the Serengeti, and China. Complicating this active debate about the surface wind regime is the fact that global circulation models (GCMs) have historically not been able to reproduce westerly surface winds in the tropics. Here we use the Titan Community Atmosphere Model (CAM) to quantify the impact of topography and an added torque on Titan’s dune-forming winds. Dunes tend to form at higher elevations on Titan, and adding topography to the model alters the near-surface wind directions, making them more westerly and consistent with the dune orientations. The addition of topography and added torque create a wind regime that is consistent with linear dunes in areas of stabilized sediment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Modeling and Simulation of Planetary Atmospheres)
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Article
Validation of the IPSL Venus GCM Thermal Structure with Venus Express Data
Atmosphere 2019, 10(10), 584; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos10100584 - 26 Sep 2019
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1277
Abstract
General circulation models (GCMs) are valuable instruments to understand the most peculiar features in the atmospheres of planets and the mechanisms behind their dynamics. Venus makes no exception and it has been extensively studied thanks to GCMs. Here we validate the current version [...] Read more.
General circulation models (GCMs) are valuable instruments to understand the most peculiar features in the atmospheres of planets and the mechanisms behind their dynamics. Venus makes no exception and it has been extensively studied thanks to GCMs. Here we validate the current version of the Institut Pierre Simon Laplace (IPSL) Venus GCM, by means of a comparison between the modelled temperature field and that obtained from data by the Visible and Infrared Thermal Imaging Spectrometer (VIRTIS) and the Venus Express Radio Science Experiment (VeRa) onboard Venus Express. The modelled thermal structure displays an overall good agreement with data, and the cold collar is successfully reproduced at latitudes higher than +/−55°, with an extent and a behavior close to the observed ones. Thermal tides developing in the model appear to be consistent in phase and amplitude with data: diurnal tide dominates at altitudes above 102 Pa pressure level and at high-latitudes, while semidiurnal tide dominates between 102 and 104 Pa, from low to mid-latitudes. The main difference revealed by our analysis is located poleward of 50°, where the model is affected by a second temperature inversion arising at 103 Pa. This second inversion, possibly related to the adopted aerosols distribution, is not observed in data. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Modeling and Simulation of Planetary Atmospheres)
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Article
Response of QIT-MS to Noble Gas Isotopic Ratios in a Simulated Venus Flyby
Atmosphere 2019, 10(5), 232; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos10050232 - 30 Apr 2019
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1326
Abstract
The primary objective of the present study is to investigate the science return of future Venus atmosphere probe mission concepts using the Quadrupole Ion Trap (QIT) Mass Spectrometer (MS) Instrument (QIT-MS-I). We demonstrate the use of Monte-Carlo simulations in determining the optimal ion [...] Read more.
The primary objective of the present study is to investigate the science return of future Venus atmosphere probe mission concepts using the Quadrupole Ion Trap (QIT) Mass Spectrometer (MS) Instrument (QIT-MS-I). We demonstrate the use of Monte-Carlo simulations in determining the optimal ion trapping conditions and focus the analysis on retrieving isotope ratios of noble gases in the model sample of the Venus atmosphere. Sampling takes place at a constant velocity of ~10 km/s between 112–110 km altitude and involves the use of getter pumps to remove all chemically-active species, retaining inert noble gases. The enriched sample is leaked into passively pumped vacuum chamber where it is analyzed by the QIT-MS sensor (QIT-MS-S) for 40 minutes. The simulated mass spectrum, as recorded by the QIT-MS-S, is deconvoluted using random walk algorithm to reveal relative abundances of noble gas isotopes. The required precision and accuracy of the deconvolution method is benchmarked against the a priori known model composition of the atmospheric sample. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Modeling and Simulation of Planetary Atmospheres)
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Review

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Review
Hierarchical Modeling of Solar System Planets with Isca
Atmosphere 2019, 10(12), 803; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos10120803 - 12 Dec 2019
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 1567
Abstract
We describe the use of Isca for the hierarchical modeling of Solar System planets, with particular attention paid to Earth, Mars, and Jupiter. Isca is a modeling framework for the construction and use of models of planetary atmospheres at varying degrees of complexity, [...] Read more.
We describe the use of Isca for the hierarchical modeling of Solar System planets, with particular attention paid to Earth, Mars, and Jupiter. Isca is a modeling framework for the construction and use of models of planetary atmospheres at varying degrees of complexity, from featureless model planets with an atmosphere forced by a thermal relaxation back to a specified temperature, through aquaplanets with no continents (or no ocean) with a simple radiation scheme, to near-comprehensive models with a multi-band radiation scheme, a convection scheme, and configurable continents and topography. By a judicious choice of parameters and parameterization schemes, the model may be configured for fairly arbitrary planets, with stellar radiation input determined by astronomical parameters, taking into account the planet’s obliquity and eccentricity. In this paper, we describe the construction and use of models at varying levels of complexity for Earth, Mars and Jupiter using the primitive equations and/or the shallow water equations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Modeling and Simulation of Planetary Atmospheres)
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Review
The Mars Regional Atmospheric Modeling System (MRAMS): Current Status and Future Directions
Atmosphere 2019, 10(12), 747; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos10120747 - 27 Nov 2019
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1589
Abstract
The Mars Regional Atmospheric Modeling System (MRAMS) is closing in on two decades of use as a tool to investigate mesoscale and microscale circulations and dynamics in the atmosphere of Mars. Over this period of time, there have been numerous improvements and additions [...] Read more.
The Mars Regional Atmospheric Modeling System (MRAMS) is closing in on two decades of use as a tool to investigate mesoscale and microscale circulations and dynamics in the atmosphere of Mars. Over this period of time, there have been numerous improvements and additions to the model dynamical core, physical parameterizations, and framework. At the same time, the application of the model to Mars (and related code for other planets) has taught many lessons about limitations and cautions that should be exercised. The current state of MRAMS is described along with a review of prior studies and findings utilizing the model. Where appropriate, lessons learned are provided to help guide future users and aid in the design and interpretation of numerical experiments. The paper concludes with a discussion of future MRAMS development plans. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Modeling and Simulation of Planetary Atmospheres)
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Review
Gravity Waves in Planetary Atmospheres: Their Effects and Parameterization in Global Circulation Models
Atmosphere 2019, 10(9), 531; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos10090531 - 09 Sep 2019
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 1422
Abstract
The dynamical and thermodynamical importance of gravity waves was initially recognized in the atmosphere of Earth. Extensive studies over recent decades demonstrated that gravity waves exist in atmospheres of other planets, similarly play a significant role in the vertical coupling of atmospheric layers [...] Read more.
The dynamical and thermodynamical importance of gravity waves was initially recognized in the atmosphere of Earth. Extensive studies over recent decades demonstrated that gravity waves exist in atmospheres of other planets, similarly play a significant role in the vertical coupling of atmospheric layers and, thus, must be included in numerical general circulation models. Since the spatial scales of gravity waves are smaller than the typical spatial resolution of most models, atmospheric forcing produced by them must be parameterized. This paper presents a review of gravity waves in planetary atmospheres, outlines their main characteristics and forcing mechanisms, and summarizes approaches to capturing gravity wave effects in numerical models. The main goal of this review is to bridge research communities studying atmospheres of Earth and other planets. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Modeling and Simulation of Planetary Atmospheres)
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