Atmospheric constraints for the CO2 partial pressure on terrestrial planets near the outer edge of the habitable zone

P. von Paris 1 J. Lee Grenfell P. Hedelt 1 Heike Rauer 2 Franck Selsis 1 Barbara Stracke
1 SSE 2013
L3AB - Laboratoire d'astrodynamique, d'astrophysique et d'aéronomie de bordeaux, OASU - Observatoire aquitain des sciences de l'univers, LAB - Laboratoire d'Astrophysique de Bordeaux [Pessac], Université Sciences et Technologies - Bordeaux 1
Abstract : In recent years, several potentially habitable, probably terrestrial exoplanets and exoplanet candidates have been discovered. The amount of CO2 in their atmosphere is of great importance for surface conditions and habitability. In the absence of detailed information on the geochemistry of the planet, this amount could be considered as a free parameter. Up to now, CO2 partial pressures for terrestrial planets have been obtained assuming an available volatile reservoir and outgassing scenarios. This study aims at calculating the allowed maximum CO2 pressure at the surface of terrestrial exoplanets orbiting near the outer boundary of the habitable zone by coupling the radiative effects of the CO2 and its condensation at the surface. These constraints might limit the permitted amount of atmospheric CO2, independent of the planetary reservoir. A 1D radiative-convective cloud-free atmospheric model was used. CO2 partial pressures are fixed according to surface temperature and vapor pressure curve. Considered scenarios cover a wide range of parameters. Results show that for planets in the habitable zone around K-, G-, and F-type stars the allowed CO2 pressure is limited by the vapor pressure curve and not by the planetary reservoir. The maximum CO2 pressure lies below the CO2 vapor pressure at the critical point of pcrit =73.8 bar. For M-type stars, CO2 pressures above pcrit are possible for almost all scenarios considered across the habitable zone. This implies that determining CO2 partial pressures for terrestrial planets by using only geological models is probably too simplified and might over-estimate atmospheric CO2 towards the outer edge of the habitable zone. (abridged)
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Submitted on : Wednesday, May 22, 2013 - 10:49:14 AM
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P. von Paris, J. Lee Grenfell, P. Hedelt, Heike Rauer, Franck Selsis, et al.. Atmospheric constraints for the CO2 partial pressure on terrestrial planets near the outer edge of the habitable zone. Astronomy and Astrophysics - A&A, EDP Sciences, 2013, 549, pp.id.A94. ⟨10.1051/0004-6361/201219684⟩. ⟨hal-00824623⟩

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