TRAPPIST-1 is an ultracool dwarf hosting a system consisting of seven planets. While orbital properties, radii, and masses of the planets are nowadays well constrained, one of the fascinating open issues is the possibility that an environment hospitable to life could develop on some of these planets. Here, we use a simple formulation of an energy balance model that includes vegetation coverage to investigate the possibility of life affecting the climate of the planets in the TRAPPIST-1 system. Results confirm that planet TRAPPIST-1e has the best chance to be a habitable world and indicate that vegetation coverage significantly affects the resulting temperatures and habitability properties. The influence of vegetation has been evaluated in different scenarios characterized by different vegetation types, land–sea distributions and levels of greenhouse effect. While changes in vegetation type produce small changes, about 0.1%, in the habitable surface fraction, different land–sea distributions, by also affecting the vegetation growth, produce different temperature distributions. Finally, at latitudes where vegetation grows, the lowering of local albedo still represents a relevant contribution in settling the planetary temperature profiles even when levels of greenhouse effect higher than the Earth-like case are considered.

Effect of Vegetation on the Temperatures of TRAPPIST-1 Planets

Primavera, Leonardo;Lepreti, Fabio;Alberti, Tommaso;Carbone, Vincenzo
2020

Abstract

TRAPPIST-1 is an ultracool dwarf hosting a system consisting of seven planets. While orbital properties, radii, and masses of the planets are nowadays well constrained, one of the fascinating open issues is the possibility that an environment hospitable to life could develop on some of these planets. Here, we use a simple formulation of an energy balance model that includes vegetation coverage to investigate the possibility of life affecting the climate of the planets in the TRAPPIST-1 system. Results confirm that planet TRAPPIST-1e has the best chance to be a habitable world and indicate that vegetation coverage significantly affects the resulting temperatures and habitability properties. The influence of vegetation has been evaluated in different scenarios characterized by different vegetation types, land–sea distributions and levels of greenhouse effect. While changes in vegetation type produce small changes, about 0.1%, in the habitable surface fraction, different land–sea distributions, by also affecting the vegetation growth, produce different temperature distributions. Finally, at latitudes where vegetation grows, the lowering of local albedo still represents a relevant contribution in settling the planetary temperature profiles even when levels of greenhouse effect higher than the Earth-like case are considered.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11770/303632
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