Modeling Exoplanetary Atmospheres: An Overview

  • Jonathan J. FortneyEmail author
Part of the Astrophysics and Space Science Library book series (ASSL, volume 450)


We review several aspects of the calculation of exoplanet model atmospheres in the current era, with a focus on understanding the temperature-pressure profiles of atmospheres and their emitted spectra. Most of the focus is on gas giant planets, both under strong stellar irradiation and in isolation. The roles of stellar irradiation, metallicity, surface gravity, C/O ratio, interior fluxes, and cloud opacity are discussed. Connections are made to the well-studied atmospheres of brown dwarfs as well as sub-Neptunes and terrestrial planets, where appropriate. Illustrative examples of model atmosphere retrievals on a thermal emission spectrum are given and connections are made between atmospheric abundances and the predictions of planet formation models.



I would like thank the organizers of the 2nd Advanced School of Exoplanetary Sciences (ASES2) for the opportunity to give lectures at the school on the beautiful Amalfi Coast. It was a fantastic experience and I benefit from great interactions with the attendees. The lectures and this chapter benefited significantly from many discussions with Mark Marley going back to 2004. Christopher Seay aided the chapter greatly by generating many of the figures. Mike Line provided figures and gave significant input on the atmospheric retrieval section. Caroline Morley helped in ways large and small. Callied Hood, Kat Feng, and Maggie Thompson provided essential comments.


  1. Ackerman, A.S., Marley, M.S.: ApJ 556, 872 (2001)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Asplund, M., Grevesse, N., Sauval, A.J., Scott, P.: ARA&A 47, 481 (2009)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Baraffe, I., Chabrier, G., Barman, T.S., Allard, F., Hauschildt, P.H.: A&A 402, 701 (2003)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Benneke, B., Seager, S.: ApJ 778, 153 (2013)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Buchner, J., Georgakakis, A., Nandra, K., et al.: A&A 564, A125 (2014)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Burrows, A., Ibgui, L., Hubeny, I.: ApJ 682, 1277 (2008)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Burrows, A., Marley, M., Hubbard, W.B., et al.: ApJ 491, 856 (1997)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Catling, D.C., Kasting, J.F.: Atmospheric Evolution on Inhabited and Lifeless Worlds (2017)Google Scholar
  9. Chamberlain, J.W., Hunten, D.M.: Theory of planetary atmospheres. An introduction to their physics and chemistry (1987)Google Scholar
  10. Espinoza, N., Fortney, J.J., Miguel, Y., Thorngren, D., Murray-Clay, R.: ApJ 838, L9 (2017)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Feroz, F., Hobson, M.P., Bridges, M.: MNRAS 398, 1601 (2009)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Foreman-Mackey, D., Hogg, D.W., Lang, D., Goodman, J.: PASP 125, 306 (2013)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Fortney, J.J.: MNRAS 364, 649 (2005)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Fortney, J.J., Ikoma, M., Nettelmann, N., Guillot, T., Marley, M.S.: ApJ 729, 32 (2011)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Fortney, J.J., Lodders, K., Marley, M.S., Freedman, R.S.: ApJ 678, 1419 (2008)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Fortney, J.J., Marley, M.S., Barnes, J.W.: ApJ 659, 1661 (2007)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Fortney, J.J., Marley, M.S., Lodders, K., Saumon, D., Freedman, R.: ApJ 627, L69 (2005)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Fortney, J.J., Mordasini, C., Nettelmann, N., et al.: ApJ 775, 80 (2013)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Greene, T.P., Line, M.R., Montero, C., et al.: ApJ 817, 17 (2016)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Guillot, T.: A&A 520, A27 (2010)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Hansen, B.M.S.: ApJS 179, 484 (2008)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Hauschildt, P.H., Allard, F., Ferguson, J., Baron, E., Alexander, D.R.: ApJ 525, 871 (1999)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Helling, C., Tootill, D., Woitke, P., Lee, G.: A&A 603, A123 (2017)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Helling, C., Woitke, P.: A&A 455, 325 (2006)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Helling, C., Woitke, P., Thi, W.-F.: A&A 485, 547 (2008)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Heng, K.: Exoplanetary Atmospheres: Theoretical Concepts and Foundations (2017)Google Scholar
  27. Heng, K., Marley, M. (2017). arXiv:1706.03188
  28. Heng, K., Showman, A.P.: Annu. Rev. Earth Planet. Sci. 43, 509 (2015)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Hubeny, I.: MNRAS 469, 841 (2017)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Kirkpatrick, J.D.: ARA&A 43, 195 (2005)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Knutson, H.A., Charbonneau, D., Allen, L.E., et al.: Nature 447, 183 (2007)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Knutson, H.A., Charbonneau, D., Cowan, N.B., et al.: ApJ 690, 822 (2009)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Kreidberg, L., Bean, J.L., Désert, J.-M., et al.: ApJ 793, L27 (2014a)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Kreidberg, L., Bean, J.L., Désert, J.-M., et al.: Nature 505, 69 (2014b)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Kreidberg, L., Line, M.R., Bean, J.L., et al.: ApJ 814, 66 (2015)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Lewis, N.K., Showman, A.P., Fortney, J.J., Knutson, H.A., Marley, M.S.: ApJ 795, 150 (2014)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Line, M.R., Fortney, J.J., Marley, M.S., Sorahana, S.: ApJ 793, 33 (2014)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Line, M.R., Teske, J., Burningham, B., Fortney, J.J., Marley, M.S.: ApJ 807, 183 (2015)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Line, M.R., Wolf, A.S., Zhang, X., et al.: ApJ 775, 137 (2013)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Line, M.R., Stevenson, K.B., Bean, J., et al.: AJ 152, 203 (2016)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Line, M.R., Marley, M.S., Liu, M.C., et al.: ApJ 848, 83 (2017)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Lodders, K., Fegley, B.: Icarus 155, 393 (2002)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Lopez, E.D., Fortney, J.J.: ApJ 792, 1 (2014)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Lupu, R.E., Marley, M.S., Lewis, N., et al.: AJ 152, 217 (2016)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Lupu, R.E., Zahnle, K., Marley, M.S., et al.: ApJ 784, 27 (2014)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Madhusudhan, N., Amin, M.A., Kennedy, G.M.: ApJ 794, L12 (2014)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Madhusudhan, N., Bitsch, B., Johansen, A., Eriksson, L.: MNRAS 469, 4102 (2017)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Madhusudhan, N., Mousis, O., Johnson, T.V., Lunine, J.I.: ApJ 743, 191 (2011a)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Madhusudhan, N., Harrington, J., Stevenson, K.B., et al.: Nature 469, 64 (2011b)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Marley, M.S., Fortney, J.J., Hubickyj, O., Bodenheimer, P., Lissauer, J.J.: ApJ 655, 541 (2007)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Marley, M.S., Gelino, C., Stephens, D., Lunine, J.I., Freedman, R.: ApJ 513, 879 (1999)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Marley, M.S., Robinson, T.D.: ARA&A 53, 279 (2015)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Marley, M.S., Saumon, D., Cushing, M., et al.: ApJ 754, 135 (2012)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Marley, M.S., Saumon, D., Guillot, T., et al.: Science 272, 1919 (1996)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Mayne, N.J., Baraffe, I., Acreman, D.M., et al.: A&A 561, A1 (2014)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. McKay, C.P., Pollack, J.B., Courtin, R.: Icarus 80, 23 (1989)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Mollière, P., van Boekel, R., Dullemond, C., Henning, T., Mordasini, C.: ApJ 813, 47 (2015)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Mordasini, C., van Boekel, R., Mollière, P., Henning, T., Benneke, B.: ApJ 832, 41 (2016)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Morley, C.V., Fortney, J.J., Marley, M.S., et al.: ApJ 756, 172 (2012)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Morley, C.V., Fortney, J.J., Marley, M.S., et al.: ApJ 756, 172 (2013)Google Scholar
  61. Morley, C.V., Fortney, J.J., Marley, M.S., et al.: ApJ 815, 110 (2015)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Morley, C.V., Knutson, H., Line, M., et al.: AJ 153, 86 (2017a)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Morley, C.V., Kreidberg, L., Rustamkulov, Z., Robinson, T., Fortney, J.J.: ApJ 850, 121 (2017b)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Öberg, K.I., Murray-Clay, R., Bergin, E.A.: ApJ 743, L16 (2011)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Parmentier, V., Guillot, T.: A&A 562, A133 (2014)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Perna, R., Menou, K., Rauscher, E.: ApJ 724, 313 (2010)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Pierrehumbert, R.T.: Principles of Planetary Climate (2010)Google Scholar
  68. Pollack, J.B., Hubickyj, O., Bodenheimer, P., et al.: Icarus 124, 62 (1996)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Robinson, T.D., Catling, D.C.: ApJ 757, 104 (2012)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Saumon, D., Marley, M.S.: ApJ 689, 1327 (2008)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Seager, S.: Exoplanet Atmospheres: Physical Processes (2010)Google Scholar
  72. Seager, S., Deming, D.: ARA&A 48, 631 (2010)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Showman, A.P., Fortney, J.J., Lian, Y., et al.: ApJ 699, 564 (2009)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Showman, A.P., Guillot, T.: A&A 385, 166 (2002)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Showman, A.P., Menou, K., Cho, J.Y.-K.: in Fischer, D., Rasio, F.A., Thorsett, S.E., Wolszczan, A. (eds.) Astronomical Society of the Pacific Conference Series. Astronomical Society of the Pacific Conference Series, vol. 398, p. 419–+ (2008)Google Scholar
  76. Showman, A.P., Wordsworth, R.D., Merlis, T.M., Kaspi, Y.: in Mackwell, S.J., Simon-Miller, A.A., Harder, J.W., Bullock, M.A. (eds.) Atmospheric Circulation of Terrestrial Exoplanets, pp. 277–326 (2013)Google Scholar
  77. Sing, D.K., Fortney, J.J., Nikolov, N., et al.: Nature 529, 59 (2016)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Stevenson, K.B., Désert, J.-M., Line, M.R., et al.: Science 346, 838 (2014)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Sudarsky, D., Burrows, A., Pinto, P.: ApJ 538, 885 (2000)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Thorngren, D.P., Fortney, J.J. (2017). arXiv:1709.04539
  81. Thorngren, D.P., Fortney, J.J., Murray-Clay, R.A., Lopez, E.D.: ApJ 831, 64 (2016)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. Toon, O.B., McKay, C.P., Ackerman, T.P., Santhanam, K.: Journal of Geophysical Research 94, 16287 (1989)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  83. Trotta, R.: Contemporary Physics 49, 71 (2008)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  84. Wong, M.H., Mahaffy, P.R., Atreya, S.K., Niemann, H.B., Owen, T.C.: Icarus 171, 153 (2004)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Other Worlds Laboratory (OWL), Department of Astronomy and AstrophysicsUniversity of CaliforniaSanta CruzUSA

Personalised recommendations