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The need for small-scale turbulence in atmospheres of substellar objects

The need for small-scale turbulence in atmospheres of substellar objects

Publication date: 02 May 2005

Authors: Helling, C.

Journal: Proceedings of the workshop on Interdisciplinary Aspects of Turbulence
Volume: 1
Page: 152
Year: 2005

Brown dwarfs and giant gas planets are substellar objects whose spectral appearance is determined by the chemical composition of the gas and the solids/liquids in the atmosphere. Atmospheres of substellar objects possess two major scale regimes: large-scale convective motions + gravitational settling and small-scale turbulence + dust formation. Turbulence initiates dust formation spot-like on small scale, while the dust feeds back into the turbulent fluid field by its strong radiative cooling. Small, imploding dust containing areas result which eventually become isothermal. Multi-dimensional simulations show that these small-scale dust structures gather into large-scale structures, suggesting the formation of clouds made of dirty dust grains. The chemical composition of the grains, and thereby the chemical evolution of the gas phase, is a function of temperature and depends on the grains history.

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