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Tuesday 20 Apr 2021[Journal Club] Title: Atmospheric photochemistry and the potential impacts of stellar flares

Robert Ridgway - University of Exeter

Zoom 11:15-11:50

Planets around M dwarf stars are an important target due to how common they are within currently known exoplanets. The atmospheres of terrestrial planets around M dwarfs will hopefully begin to be charactered within the next few years. An important phenomenon which may impact their atmospheric composition and planetary habitability as well as characterisation are stellar flares. Stellar flares are caused by the release of magnetic energy within the star’s atmosphere, and cause a large temporary increase in stellar brightness for a period of minutes to hours. Stellar flares are thought to impact planetary atmospheres through two mechanisms, increased UV emission causing increased photolysis, and energetic protons released from a coronal mass ejection which can directly impact the atmosphere and modify the composition. In this talk I describe my work in implementing a coupled photochemical model for use with the Met Office Unified Model (UM). The UM is a global circulation model developed by the Met Office for climate research and weather prediction. It has been used for exoplanet research for a few years, for both terrestrial planets and gas giants. I aim to examine terrestrial chemistry and the potential effects of stellar flares on terrestrial planets around M dwarf stars

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