Atmospheric circulation of hot jupiters: Three-dimensional circulation models of HD 209458b and HD 189733b with simplified forcing

Adam P. Showman, Curtis S. Cooper, Jonathan J. Fortney, Mark S. Marley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

151 Scopus citations


We present global, three-dimensional numerical simulations of the atmospheric circulation on HD 209458b and HD 189733b and calculate the infrared spectra and light curves predicted by these simulations, which we compare with available observations. Radiative heating /cooling is parameterized with a simplified Newtonian relaxation scheme. Our simulations develop day-night temperature contrasts that vary strongly with pressure. At low pressure (<10 mbar), air flows from the substellar point toward the antistellar point, both along the equator and over the poles. At deeper levels, the flow develops an eastward equatorial jet with speeds of 3-4 km s-1, with weaker westward flows at high latitudes. This basic flow pattern is robust to variations in model resolution, gravity, radiative time constant, and initial temperature structure. Nightside spectra show deep absorption bands of H 2O, CO, and/or CH4, whereas on the dayside these absorption bands flatten out or even flip into emission. This results from the strong effect of dynamics on the vertical temperature-pressure structure; the temperature decreases strongly with altitude on the night-side but becomes almost isothermal on the dayside. In Spitzer bandpasses, our predicted planet-to-star flux ratios vary by a factor of ∼2-10 with orbital phase, depending on the wavelength and chemistry. For HD 189733b, where a detailed 8 μm light curve has been obtained, we correctly produce the observed phase offset of the flux maximum, but we do not explain the flux minimum and we overpredict the total flux variation. This discrepancy likely results from the simplifications inherent in the Newtonian relaxation scheme and provides motivation for incorporating realistic radiative transfer in future studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)559-576
Number of pages18
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 20 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Atmospheric effects
  • Methods: numerical
  • Planets and satellites: general
  • Planets and satellites: individual (HD 209458b)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Atmospheric circulation of hot jupiters: Three-dimensional circulation models of HD 209458b and HD 189733b with simplified forcing'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this