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Impact of Planetary Parameters on Water Clouds Microphysics

Presentation #102.267 in the session Poster Session.

Published onJun 20, 2022
Impact of Planetary Parameters on Water Clouds Microphysics

Potentially habitable exoplanets are targets of great interest for JWST and upcoming mission concepts such as large IR/O/UV space observatories. Clouds strongly affect climate and habitability, but they are highly uncertain. Cloud microphysics, in particular, is often crudely approximated by assuming that all cloud particles have a single, constant size. Notably, exoplanets range over a large phase space of their planetary properties, which makes direct simulations of microphysics other than solely improved parameterizations necessary. In this work, our goal is to determine how cloud microphysics on terrestrial exoplanets depends on aerosol properties and planetary parameters such as surface pressure, surface gravity, and incident stellar radiation. We use CARMA, which is a microphysical model that simulates the formation and evolution of clouds including the processes of nucleation, condensation, evaporation, coagulation, and vertical transfer. In the 1-dimensional idealized experiments, we find that stellar radiation, surface gravity, surface pressure and vertical mixing of the atmosphere have significant impact on cloud radiative forcing. These impacts on cloud feedback are caused by both different integrated cloud water path and size-altitude distribution of cloud particles. CCN properties are less important than these planetary parameters. The variables influence the formation of clouds mainly through the temperature and moisture structure of the atmosphere. This work promises to deliver predictions of exoplanet habitability and future observational characterization informed by sophisticated cloud microphysical modeling.

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