The Standard Problem of Non-LTE Radiative Transfer in the Rovibrational Band of the Planetary Atmosphere

journal : Solar System Research, vol.35, No.3, p.1-16
authors : G.M. Shved, A.O. Semenov

Abstract

The standard problem of radiative transfer in a rovibrational band is formulated for the optically semi-infinite plane-parallel planetary atmosphere using a model of a linear molecule with two vibrational states. The solution of the problem describes the variation with height of the population of the excited vibrational state due to the existence of the upper boundary of the atmosphere. We seek this solution as a function of the specially introduced dimensionless parameters - the atmosphere depth and four similarity parameters - and study it for the parameter values that can be realized in the planetary atmospheres, including the atmospheres of extrasolar planets. It is shown that an increase in optical density of the atmosphere can reduce the population of an excited vibrational state in the band at the upper boundary of the atmosphere by as much as several orders of magnitude as compared to the population corresponding to the "optically thin band" limit. The anomalous decrease in opacity of the atmosphere, when only several lines of the band are involved in radiative transfer, is predicted. We also determined the accuracy of calculating the population in the approximation of the Doppler line profile. An approximate formula is obtained for the dimensionless height of the boundary of the layer in which the local thermodynamic equilibrium (LTE) exists for vibrational states. We propose a model and the formula following from this model to roughly evaluate the decrease in this height due to the impact on the population of additional radiative transitions between the state being considered and the underlying state belonging to another vibrational mode of the molecule.

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