Presentation #319.02 in the session Exoplanet Formation of Planets and Protoplanetary Disks I.
When water ice on the surface of dust grains in a protoplanetary disk sublimates, it adds its latent heat of sublimation to the enthalpy of the surrounding flow. Drawing on the analogy provided by tropical cyclones on Earth, we investigate if this energy source is sufficient to sustain or magnify anticyclonic disk vortices that would otherwise fall victim to viscous dissipation. Our analytical treatment, supported by exploratory two-dimensional simulations, suggests that even modestly under-saturated flows can significantly extend the lifetime of vortices found near the disk’s water ice line, which ultimately affects particle trapping and planet formation. In addition to protoplanetary disks, these large-scale hurricane-like storms may play a key meteorological role on high-eccentricity, fast-rotating exoplanets.