AAS 204th Meeting, June 2004
Session 24 Protoplanetary Disks and the Brown Dwarf Desert
Oral, Monday, May 31, 2004, 2:00-3:30pm, 601

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[24.04] Numerical Simulations of Instabilities, Waves, and Vortices in Protoplanetary Disks

M. R. Petersen (U. of Colorado Boulder, Applied Mathematics Dept.), G. R. Stewart (U. of Colorado Boulder, Lab. for Atmos. & Space Physics), K. Julien (U. of Colorado Boulder, Applied Mathematics Dept.)

Recent numerical simulations of protoplanetary disks using the compressible Navier-Stokes equations with radiative heat transport have shown large-scale vortex formation and positive angular momentum transport. In particular, Klahr and Bodenheimer (2003) observed global baroclinic instabilities in the presence of a radial entropy gradient. To gain a better understanding of the physical basis of these results, we have derived a simplified protoplanetary disk model based on the anelastic equation which includes the necessary components for vortex formation due to baroclinic instabilities. The model equations for entropy and vorticity include radiative damping, entropy gradients, and are coupled by a baroclinic term. A numerical model of these equations has been created to investigate the effects of the radial entropy gradient on vortex formation. The model is two dimensional pseudo-spectral on an annulus and uses Fourier-Chebyshev basis functions. Our simplified numerical model will be able to explore larger Reynold's numbers and longer evolution time scales compared to standard finite-difference codes. The goal of this work is to determine the disk parameters that lead to baroclinic instabilities and long-lasting vortices.

This work was supported by NSF Vigre Award # DMS-9810751

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