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Cross-sections for heavy atmospheres: H2O continuum

Anisman, LO, Chubb, KL, Elsey, Jonathan ORCID:, Al-Refaie, A, Changeat, Q, Yurchenko, SN, Tennyson, J and Tinetti, G 2022. Cross-sections for heavy atmospheres: H2O continuum. Journal of Quantitative Spectroscopy and Radiative Transfer 278 , 108013. 10.1016/j.jqsrt.2021.108013

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Most of the exoplanets detected up to now transit in front of their host stars, allowing for the generation of transmission spectra; the study of exoplanet atmospheres relies heavily upon accurate analysis of these spectra. Recent discoveries mean that the study of atmospheric signals from low-mass, temperate worlds are becoming increasingly common. The observed transit depth in these planets is small and more difficult to analyze. Analysis of simulated transmission spectra for two small, temperate planets (GJ 1214 b and K2-18 b) is presented, giving evidence for significant differences in simulated transit depth when the water vapor continuum is accounted for when compared to models omitting it. These models use cross-sections from the CAVIAR lab experiment for the water self-continuum up to 10,000 cm ; these cross-sections exhibit an inverse relationship with temperature, hence lower-temperature atmospheres are the most significantly impacted. Including the water continuum strongly affects transit depths, increasing values by up to 60 ppm, with the differences for both planets being detectable with the future space missions Ariel and JWST. It is imperative that models of exoplanet spectra move toward adaptive cross-sections, increasingly optimized for H O-rich atmospheres. This necessitates including absorption contribution from the water vapor continuum into atmospheric simulations.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Earth and Environmental Sciences
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0022-4073
Date of Acceptance: 22 November 2021
Last Modified: 17 Jan 2023 09:30

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