Towards consistent modelling of planetary atmospheres with THOR
As more observational data become available, a working theory of exoplanetary atmospheres is essential, at a first level to interpret the data and more importantly to reproduce and explain the physical processes that generate complex planetary climates. In this presentation, I will briefly summarize the main new advances in the 3D modelling of exoplanet climates, and present the new results from the Global Circulation Model (GCM), THOR (Mendonca et al. 2016), on hot Jupiter atmospheres. THOR is a state-of-the-art GCM, which has been developed from scratch with the propose of exploring a large diversity of planets and the increasing complexity of atmospheric physical processes. Our GCM has radiative transfer codes with various levels of complexity, and recently it was coupled with a chemical relaxation method from Tsai et al. 2017 and has been used to interpret hot Jupiter’s phase-curves from Spitzer and HST data (Mendonca et al. 2018). I will present the multi-phase emission and reflection spectra from the 3D simulations, compare it to observations, and discuss the results on: the thermal structure, cloud distribution and chemical disequilibrium processes at work on hot Jupiter planets. THOR is included in a platform that analyses the output of the simulations to be compared with different observational techniques and is an open-source code. With the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) due to launch in 2019, I will discuss how THOR can be used by the community to explore theoretically the future observations of planetary atmospheres.