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Atmospheric and Ocean Dynamics of Water Worlds


de Oliveira Lobo, Ana Helena (2022) Atmospheric and Ocean Dynamics of Water Worlds. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/skh2-tp72.


This dissertation explores the fundamental dynamics that control atmospheric and ocean circulation on water worlds. These planets are defined by the presence of liquid water, which is a minimum requirement for life as we know it, making them compelling targets in the search for extraterrestrial life. This work begins by examining the atmospheric features and surface climates of Earth-like planets with surface liquid water (Chapters I-III). These atmospheres are driven by top-of-atmosphere radiative imbalance. To further our understanding of planetary climate and of the atmosphere’s dynamical controls, particularly with regards to seasonal behavior, we examine the circulation, energy budget, and hydrological cycle responses to changes in shortwave and longwave radiative forcings. This dissertation also explores icy worlds (Chapters IV-V), a type of water world where a liquid water ocean hides beneath a substantial icy shell. Processes occurring at the ocean boundaries can shape the circulation dynamics, stratification, and subsequent heat and salt distributions in the ocean interior. This work presents a new model for exploring these oceans, focusing on ocean-ice interactions and freshwater forcings on Enceladus.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:Planetary; Atmospheric Dynamics; Ocean Dynamics; Water Worlds; Icy Worlds; High Obliquity; Enceladus;
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Geological and Planetary Sciences
Major Option:Planetary Sciences
Awards:Advocating Change Together (ACT) Award, 2019.
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Bordoni, Simona
Thesis Committee:
  • Thompson, Andrew F. (chair)
  • Schneider, Tapio
  • Knutson, Heather A.
  • Bordoni, Simona
Defense Date:16 July 2021
Non-Caltech Author Email:lobo (AT)
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:07262021-194514668
Persistent URL:
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription for ch 1 & 2. for ch 4 & 5.
de Oliveira Lobo, Ana Helena0000-0003-3862-1817
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:14313
Deposited By: Ana Helena de Oliveira Lobo
Deposited On:28 Jul 2021 23:15
Last Modified:04 Aug 2022 21:12

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