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Climates of Warm Earth-like Planets. III. Fractional Habitability from a Water Cycle Perspective
NASA, Goddard Inst Space Studies, 2880 Broadway, New York, NY 10025 USA.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Theoretical Astrophysics. NASA, Goddard Inst Space Studies, 2880 Broadway, New York, NY 10025 USA;GSFC Sellers Exoplanet Environm Collaborat, Greenbelt, MD USA.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-3728-0475
NASA, Goddard Inst Space Studies, 2880 Broadway, New York, NY 10025 USA;GSFC Sellers Exoplanet Environm Collaborat, Greenbelt, MD USA.
NASA, Goddard Inst Space Studies, 2880 Broadway, New York, NY 10025 USA;Columbia Univ, Ctr Climate Syst Res, 2880 Broadway, New York, NY 10025 USA.
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2019 (English)In: Astrophysical Journal, ISSN 0004-637X, E-ISSN 1538-4357, Vol. 887, no 2, article id 197Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The habitable fraction of a planet's surface is important for the detectability of surface biosignatures. The extent and distribution of habitable areas are influenced by external parameters that control the planet's climate, atmospheric circulation, and hydrological cycle. We explore these issues using the ROCKE-3D general circulation model, focusing on terrestrial water fluxes and thus the potential for the existence of complex life on land. Habitability is examined as a function of insolation and planet rotation for an Earth-like world with zero obliquity and eccentricity orbiting the Sun. We assess fractional habitability using an aridity index that measures the net supply of water to the land. Earth-like planets become "superhabitable" (a larger habitable surface area than Earth) as insolation and day-length increase because their climates become more equable, reminiscent of past warm periods on Earth when complex life was abundant and widespread. The most slowly rotating, most highly irradiated planets, though, occupy a hydrological regime unlike any on Earth, with extremely warm, humid conditions at high latitudes but little rain and subsurface water storage. Clouds increasingly obscure the surface as insolation increases, but visibility improves for modest increases in rotation period. Thus, moderately slowly rotating rocky planets with insolation near or somewhat greater than modern Earth's appear to be promising targets for surface characterization by a future direct imaging mission.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
IOP PUBLISHING LTD , 2019. Vol. 887, no 2, article id 197
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Astronomy, Astrophysics and Cosmology
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URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-405344DOI: 10.3847/1538-4357/ab57fdISI: 000506012000091OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-405344DiVA, id: diva2:1404894
Available from: 2020-02-28 Created: 2020-02-28 Last updated: 2020-02-28Bibliographically approved

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Way, Michael J.

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