Excess C/O and C/H in outer protoplanetary disk gas

1Karin I. Öberg and 2Edwin A. Bergin
The Astrophysical Journal Letters 831,L19 Link to Article [http://dx.doi.org/10.3847/2041-8205/831/2/L19]
1Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, 60 Garden Street, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA
2Department of Astronomy, University of Michigan, 311 West Hall, 1085 S. University Avenue, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA

The compositions of nascent planets depend on the compositions of their birth disks. In particular, the elemental compositions of gas giant gaseous envelopes depend on the elemental compositions of the disk gas from which the envelopes are accreted. Previous models have demonstrated that sequential freeze-out of O- and C-bearing volatiles in disks will result in supersolar C/O ratios and subsolar C/H ratios in the gas between water and CO snowlines. However, this result does not take into account the expected grain growth and radial drift of pebbles in disks, and the accompanying redistribution of volatiles from the outer to the inner disk. Using a toy model we demonstrate that when drift is considered, CO is enhanced between the water and CO snowline, resulting in both supersolar C/O and C/H ratios in the disk gas in the gas giant formation zone. This result appears to be robust for the disk model as long as there is substantial pebble drift across the CO snowline, and the efficiency of CO vapor diffusion is limited. Gas giants that accrete their gaseous envelopes exterior to the water snowline and do not experience substantial core-envelope mixing may thus feature both superstellar C/O and C/H ratios in their atmospheres. Pebble drift will also affect the nitrogen and noble gas abundances in the planet-forming zones, which may explain some of Jupiter’s peculiar abundance patterns.

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