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Old 17-02-2011, 01:29 PM
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renormalised (Carl)
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Originally Posted by CraigS View Post

I think you're significantly under-valuing the research/modelling being done on this occasion.

Atmospheric modelling at the best of times (for Earth, even), is an extraordinarily complex undertaking.

These guys are developing a qualitative model for distant exo-planets, taking into consideration non-linearity aspects of fluid dynamics at different atmospheric depths.

Whilst I feel that all such atmospheric models are based on familiar conditions extrapolated from planet Earth experiences and hence, actual model parameters may end up varying significantly from assumed values, the models have significant atmospheric physical foundations.

These guys are no slouches in the intellectual department, as a cursory glance at their report reveals.

Their technique uses a comparison between two advanced, substantial models, as a measure of validation of the conclusions. Such an approach also suggests a depth of understanding of scientific methodologies, also.

No I'm not, Craig.

I'm very much aware of the abilities of the scientists and the complexities of the physical processes they're trying to model.

What I am on about is the reasoning abilities of some of these scientists. They're so far into the science and the modeling that they can't see the forest for the trees. They get too complex and complicated before they nut out the basics of the physical processes. Instead of trying to be too intellectual about a problem, they need to step back and think about the basic processes or even speculate about what's probably happening in the first place instead of being surprised about something that should be rather obvious to work out.

If the hot spot which is supposed to be at the antisolar point is offset, then there are a couple of explanations...migration due to large scale turbulence generated by internal forces and/or shallow atmospheric phenomena (i.e. wind/atmospheric circulation). Nothing surprising about that and something that should be expected, given that these planets are being heated (in some cases) to over 2000 degrees and wind velocities approaching 2-4km/s have been determined. These hot spots are most likely being influenced by the interactions between the internal turbulence and the wind shear in the atmospheres of these planets. The amount of offset would be determined by the boundary between the laminar flow of the wind shear and the turbulence being generated as well as isothermal gradients between these zones and the heat transport mechanisms present. It becomes a complex dance between how the heat is being distributed about the planet and the interactions between the atmospheric and internal planetary processes driving the circulation.

It's understanding those models where all the crucial physics and maths enters into the science, not beforehand. It's like putting the cart before the horse. You only need to know why something is possibly/probably happening at first, not the detailed physics behind it...that comes later. You don't work out the thermodynamics and such before saying, "Well, that's why it's happening". You hypothesise first, then do the brain work later.
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