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Climate variations on Earth-like circumbinary planets

Popp, Max and Eggl, Siegfried (2017) Climate variations on Earth-like circumbinary planets. Nature Communications, 8 . Art. No. 14957. ISSN 2041-1723. PMCID PMC5384241. doi:10.1038/ncomms14957.

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The discovery of planets orbiting double stars at close distances has sparked increasing scientific interest in determining whether Earth-analogues can remain habitable in such environments and how their atmospheric dynamics is influenced by the rapidly changing insolation. In this work we present results of the first three-dimensional numerical experiments of a water-rich planet orbiting a double star. We find that the periodic forcing of the atmosphere has a noticeable impact on the planet’s climate. Signatures of the forcing frequencies related to the planet’s as well as to the binary’s orbital periods are present in a variety of climate indicators such as temperature and precipitation, making the interpretation of potential observables challenging. However, for Earth-like greenhouse gas concentrations, the variable forcing does not change the range of insolation values allowing for habitable climates substantially.

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Additional Information:© 2017 The Author(s). This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit Received: 20 September 2016. Accepted: 15 February 2017. Published online: 06 April 2017. We thank Hauke Schmidt for a thorough internal review and many valuable suggestions as well as Dorian Abbot and two anonymous reviewers for very constructive reviews. The required computing facilities were kindly provided by the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology and the Deutsches Klimarechenzentrum (DKRZ). We acknowledge the Max Planck Society for the Advancement of Science for financial support. This study was in part supported by the Austrian FWF NFN project S11608-N16 ‘Pathways to Habitability: From Disks to Active Stars, Planets and Life’, the IMCCE Observatoire de Paris, France, as well as by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory through the California Institute of Technology postdoctoral fellowship program, under a contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Contributions S.E. had the original idea for this study and adapted the orbital model to the requirements of the general circulation model. M.P. implemented the orbital model into the general circulation model and performed the simulations and the analysis of the results. S.E. and M.P. both contributed extensively to the written form of the manuscript. Code availability: The code of the employed GCM alone and of the GCM coupled to the orbit propagator, the employed boundary data and the runscripts can be obtained from M.P. ( The orbit propagator can be obtained from S.E. ( Data availability: All original and processed data, the processing scripts and the scripts used to create the figures can be obtained from M.P. ( The authors declare no competing financial interests.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Max Planck SocietyUNSPECIFIED
FWF Der WissenschaftsfondsS11608-N16
IMCCE Observatoire de ParisUNSPECIFIED
NASA Postdoctoral FellowshipUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:Astrobiology ; Atmospheric dynamics ; Exoplanets
PubMed Central ID:PMC5384241
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20170412-112022007
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Official Citation:Popp, M. & Eggl, S. Climate variations on Earth-like circumbinary planets. Nat. Commun. 8, 14957 doi: 10.1038/ncomms14957 (2017).
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:76535
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:12 Apr 2017 22:18
Last Modified:15 Nov 2021 17:00

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