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Atmospheric Escape Processes and Planetary Atmospheric Evolution

Gronoff, G. and Arras, P. and Baraka, S. and Bell, J. M. and Cessateur, G. and Cohen, O. and Curry, S. M. and Drake, J. J. and Elrod, M. and Erwin, J. and Garcia‐Sage, K. and Garraffo, C. and Glocer, A. and Heavens, N. G. and Lovato, K. and Maggiolo, R. and Parkinson, C. D. and Simon-Wedlund, C. and Weimer, D. R. and Moore, W. B. (2020) Atmospheric Escape Processes and Planetary Atmospheric Evolution. Journal of Geophysical Research. Space Physics, 125 (8). Art. No. e2019JA027639. ISSN 2169-9380. doi:10.1029/2019ja027639.

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The habitability of the surface of any planet is determined by a complex evolution of its interior, surface, and atmosphere. The electromagnetic and particle radiation of stars drive thermal, chemical, and physical alteration of planetary atmospheres, including escape. Many known extrasolar planets experience vastly different stellar environments than those in our solar system: It is crucial to understand the broad range of processes that lead to atmospheric escape and evolution under a wide range of conditions if we are to assess the habitability of worlds around other stars. One problem encountered between the planetary and the astrophysics communities is a lack of common language for describing escape processes. Each community has customary approximations that may be questioned by the other, such as the hypothesis of H‐dominated thermosphere for astrophysicists or the Sun‐like nature of the stars for planetary scientists. Since exoplanets are becoming one of the main targets for the detection of life, a common set of definitions and hypotheses are required. We review the different escape mechanisms proposed for the evolution of planetary and exoplanetary atmospheres. We propose a common definition for the different escape mechanisms, and we show the important parameters to take into account when evaluating the escape at a planet in time. We show that the paradigm of the magnetic field as an atmospheric shield should be changed and that recent work on the history of Xenon in Earth's atmosphere gives an elegant explanation to its enrichment in heavier isotopes: the so‐called Xenon paradox.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Gronoff, G.0000-0002-0331-7076
Arras, P.0000-0001-5611-1349
Baraka, S.0000-0001-6748-6795
Cessateur, G.0000-0002-4316-7252
Cohen, O.0000-0003-3721-0215
Curry, S. M.0000-0002-7463-9419
Drake, J. J.0000-0002-0210-2276
Elrod, M.0000-0003-1860-9220
Erwin, J.0000-0003-0200-3195
Garcia‐Sage, K.0000-0001-6398-8755
Garraffo, C.0000-0002-8791-6286
Glocer, A.0000-0001-9843-9094
Heavens, N. G.0000-0001-7654-503X
Lovato, K.0000-0001-6204-0137
Maggiolo, R.0000-0002-5658-1313
Parkinson, C. D.0000-0002-5722-2224
Simon-Wedlund, C.0000-0003-2201-7615
Weimer, D. R.0000-0003-1264-3612
Moore, W. B.0000-0002-2396-5134
Additional Information:© 2020 American Geophysical Union. Issue Online: 31 July 2020; Version of Record online: 31 July 2020; Accepted manuscript online: 07 June 2020; Manuscript accepted: 31 March 2020; Manuscript revised: 06 March 2020; Manuscript received: 22 November 2019. The Living Breathing Planet team is funded by the NASA Nexus for Exoplanet System Science under Grant NNX15AE05G. Work at the Royal Belgian Institute for SpaceAeronomy was supported by PRODEX/Cluster Contract 13127/98/NL/VJ(IC)‐PEA90316. The work of C. S. W. has been partially funded by the Austrian Science Fund under Project P 32035‐N36. We thank Mary Pat Hrybyk‐Keith at NASA/GSFC for her graphics work on the summary figures. We would like to thank N. Wright (Keele University) for his assistance in providing additional figures. The authors would like to thank the Institut d'Astrophysique de Paris (IAP), France, and Ben Jaffel for the IAPIC continuous development. Data Availability Statement: Data were not used nor created for this research.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Fonds zur Förderung der wissenschaftlichen Forschung (FWF)P 32035‐N36
Issue or Number:8
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20201029-124815176
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Gronoff, G., Arras, P., Baraka, S., Bell, J. M., Cessateur, G., Cohen, O., et al. (2020). Atmospheric escape processes and planetary atmospheric evolution. Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics, 125, e2019JA027639.
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:106343
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:29 Oct 2020 21:18
Last Modified:16 Nov 2021 18:53

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