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Post Info TOPIC: CO-CH4 Quenching in substellar objects


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CO-CH4 Quenching in substellar objects

Title: Quenching of Carbon Monoxide and Methane in the Atmospheres of Cool Brown Dwarfs and Hot Jupiters
Authors: Channon Visscher, Julianne I. Moses

We explore CO-CH4 quench kinetics in the atmospheres of substellar objects using updated time-scale arguments, as suggested by a thermochemical kinetics and diffusion model that transitions from the thermochemical-equilibrium regime in the deep atmosphere to a quench-chemical regime at higher altitudes. More specifically, we examine CO quench chemistry on the T dwarf Gliese 229B and CH4 quench chemistry on the hot-Jupiter HD 189733b. We describe a method for correctly calculating reverse rate coefficients for chemical reactions, discuss the predominant pathways for CO-CH4 interconversion as indicated by the model, and demonstrate that a simple time-scale approach can be used to accurately describe the behaviour of quenched species when updated reaction kinetics and mixing-length-scale assumptions are used. Proper treatment of quench kinetics has important implications for estimates of molecular abundances and/or vertical mixing rates in the atmospheres of substellar objects. Our model results indicate significantly higher Kzz values than previously estimated near the CO quench level on Gliese 229B, whereas current model-data comparisons using CH4 permit a wide range of Kzz values on HD 189733b. We also use updated reaction kinetics to revise previous estimates of the Jovian water abundance, based upon the observed abundance and chemical behaviour of carbon monoxide. The CO chemical/observational constraint, along with Galileo entry probe data, suggests a water abundance of approximately 0.51-2.6x solar (for a solar value of H2O/H2=9.61E-04) in Jupiter's troposphere, assuming vertical mixing from the deep atmosphere is the only source of tropospheric CO.

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