TAP Colloquium - Dr. Ana Lobo

Climate Regimes Across the Habitable Zones of Dim Stars


3:30 to 4:30 p.m., Feb. 19, 2024


Dr. Ana H. Lobo
Planetary Climate Scientist
UC Irvine

In the race to detect life beyond the Solar System, rocky M- and K-dwarf planets are increasingly observable and offer exciting prospects. Climate studies of these planets often assume an ocean-covered world. However, M-dwarf habitable zone planets may struggle to acquire and retain water throughout their lifetimes due to enhanced heating and high-energy radiation during early stellar evolution, and persistent stellar flares, such that water-limited land planets may be especially common. Land planets can have uniquely diverse climates, with large temperature gradients. Our recent work shows that, unlike aquaplanets, they can be in a “terminator habitability” climate regime. With scorching dayside and freezing nightside temperatures, their habitable surface areas are confined to the terminator. These results, combined with observational advantages for arid planets, indicate that land planets will be attractive candidates for early detections of habitability. In this talk, we will take a tour of the M- and K-dwarf habitable zones to explore the climates of aquaplanets and land planets, and their prospects for near-future climate characterization and habitability.

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