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Shallowness of circulation in hot Jupiters - Advancing the Ohmic dissipation model

Knierim, H. and Batygin, K. and Bitsch, B. (2022) Shallowness of circulation in hot Jupiters - Advancing the Ohmic dissipation model. Astronomy and Astrophysics, 658 . Art. No. L7. ISSN 0004-6361. doi:10.1051/0004-6361/202142588.

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The inflated radii of giant short-period extrasolar planets collectively indicate that the interiors of hot Jupiters are heated by some anomalous energy dissipation mechanism. Although a variety of physical processes have been proposed to explain this heating, recent statistical evidence points to the confirmation of explicit predictions of the Ohmic dissipation theory, elevating this mechanism as the most promising candidate for resolving the radius inflation problem. In this work, we present an analytic model for the dissipation rate and derive a simple scaling law that links the magnitude of energy dissipation to the thickness of the atmospheric weather layer. From this relation, we find that the penetration depth influences the Ohmic dissipation rate by an order of magnitude. We further investigate the weather layer depth of hot Jupiters from the extent of their inflation and show that, depending on the magnetic field strength, hot Jupiter radii can be maintained even if the circulation layer is relatively shallow. Additionally, we explore the evolution of zonal wind velocities with equilibrium temperature by matching our analytic model to statistically expected dissipation rates. From this analysis, we deduce that the wind speed scales approximately as 1/√(T_(eq) − T₀), where T₀ is a constant that equals T₀ ∼ 1000 K − 1800 K depending on planet-specific parameters (radius, mass, etc.). This work outlines inter-related constraints on the atmospheric flow and the magnetic field of hot Jupiters and provides a foundation for future work on the Ohmic heating mechanism.

Item Type:Article
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URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Batygin, K.0000-0002-7094-7908
Bitsch, B.0000-0002-8868-7649
Alternate Title:On the Shallowness of Circulation in Hot Jupiters -- Advancing the Ohmic Dissipation Model
Additional Information:© H. Knierim et al. 2022. Open Access article, published by EDP Sciences, under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. Open Access funding provided by Max Planck Society. Received: 5 November 2021 Accepted: 19 January 2022. B.B. acknowledges the support of the European Research Council (ERC Starting Grant 757448-PAMDORA). K.B. is grateful to Caltech, and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation for their generous support.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
European Research Council (ERC)757448
David and Lucile Packard FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Max Planck SocietyUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) / planets and satellites: atmospheres / planets and satellites: magnetic fields / planets and satellites: interiors / planets and satellites: gaseous planets
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20220207-702061000
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Official Citation:Shallowness of circulation in hot Jupiters - Advancing the Ohmic dissipation model H. Knierim, K. Batygin and B. Bitsch A&A, 658 (2022) L7 DOI:
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:113308
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:07 Feb 2022 20:41
Last Modified:07 Feb 2022 20:41

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