THOR - The rise of a new 3D climate model for planetary studies
The study of extrasolar planets has become increasingly important with the discovery of a large number of these astronomical objects. The diversity of planetary characteristics observed suggests a variety of possible climates. However, the influence of the astronomical and planetary bulk parameters in driving new atmospheric circulations continues to be poorly understood. In this talk I will present the new 3D atmospheric model, THOR, that we have developed from scratch to explore a large range of planetary atmospheres. THOR solves the complex physical and dynamical equations that include among other, fundamental principles of atmospheric fluid dynamics and various idealisations of radiative transfer and dry convection. I will also present the results of the first successful benchmark tests for this model, where we reproduce Earth-like and hot Jupiter like conditions. The advantages of using THOR against other models will be discussed. The use of THOR in the study of exoplanet atmospheres will be a significant step forward in the understanding of the diversity of climates and atmospheric circulations which are likely to be found in the multitude of exoplanets discovered.