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This content will become publicly available on May 20, 2018

Title: Retrieval of atmospheric properties of cloudy L dwarfs

Here, we present the first results from applying the spectral inversion technique in the cloudy L dwarf regime. This new framework provides a flexible approach to modelling cloud opacity which can be built incrementally as the data require and improves upon previous retrieval experiments in the brown dwarf regime by allowing for scattering in two-stream radiative transfer. Our first application of the tool to two mid-L dwarfs is able to reproduce their near-infrared spectra far more closely than grid models. Our retrieved thermal, chemical and cloud profiles allow us to estimate Teff = 1796 $$+23\atop{-25}$$ K and logg = 5.21$$+0.05\atop{-0.08}$$ for 2MASS J05002100+0330501, and for 2MASSW J2224438-015852 we find Teff = 1723 $$+18\atop{-19}$$ K and log g = 5.31 $$+0.04\atop{-0.08}$$, in close agreement with previous empirical estimates. Our best model for both objects includes an optically thick cloud deck which passes τcloud ≥ 1 (looking down) at a pressure of around 5 bar. The temperature at this pressure is too high for silicate species to condense, and we argue that corundum and/or iron clouds are responsible for this cloud opacity. Our retrieved profiles are cooler at depth and warmer at altitude than the forward grid models that we compare, and we argue that some form of heating mechanism may be at work in the upper atmospheres of these L dwarfs. We also identify anomalously high CO abundance in both targets, which does not correlate with the warmth of our upper atmospheres or our choice of cloud model, and find similarly anomalous alkali abundance for one of our targets. For these anomalies they may reflect unrecognized shortcomings in our retrieval model or inaccuracies in our gas phase opacities.
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [3] ;  [4] ;  [5] ;  [6] ;  [7] ;  [8]
  1. NASA Ames Research Center (ARC), Moffett Field, Mountain View, CA (United States); Univ. of Hertfordshire, Hatfield (United Kingdom)
  2. NASA Ames Research Center (ARC), Moffett Field, Mountain View, CA (United States)
  3. Arizona State Univ., Tempe, AZ (United States); NASA Ames Research Center (ARC), Moffett Field, Mountain View, CA (United States)
  4. NASA Ames Research Center (ARC), Moffett Field, Mountain View, CA (United States); Bay Area Environmental Research Inst., Petaluma, CA (United States)
  5. Dordt College, Sioux Center, IA (United States); Space Science Inst., Boulder, CO (United States)
  6. Harvard Univ., Cambridge, MA (United States)
  7. Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
  8. SETI Inst., Mountain View, CA (United States)
Publication Date:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 0035-8711; TRN: US1702470
Grant/Contract Number:
AC52-06NA25396; AST-1312305
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 470; Journal Issue: 1; Journal ID: ISSN 0035-8711
Royal Astronomical Society
Research Org:
Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE; National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
Country of Publication:
United States
OSTI Identifier: