Overview

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Planets are dynamic entities: their atmospheres, surfaces and interiors all evolve dramatically over time. To understand this evolution, we must piece together clues from a variety of sources, and investigate hypotheses using models that incorporate diverse physical and chemical processes.

Research in the Wordsworth group focuses on the boundary between Solar System and exoplanet atmospheres and climates. We see the planets in the Solar System simply as special cases of a much wider sample that we are only just beginning to access. One of the most exciting aspects of doing planetary research today is that the climate evolution theories we develop now are going to be testable on a grand scale in the coming decades.


Group News & Media

2021

November

Jake’s paper on convection in hothouse climates has just appeared in Nature.

August 

First in-person classes since the spring of 2020. Welcome back, and stay safe everyone!

Feng’s paper on water vapor transport on tidally locked exoplanets has been accepted by The Planetary Science Journal.

May 

Mark’s paper on the timing of ocean shorelines and Jezero crater has been accepted by The Planetary Science Journal.

April

Congratulations to Kaitlyn for winning a Climate Change Solutions Award!

Collin Cherubim and Jessica Cmiel have both accepted PhD offers and will be joining in Fall 2021. Welcome to the group!!

Robin’s paper on stochastic Snowball modeling has been accepted by ApJL. 

March

Kaitlyn’s latest paper on raindrops in diverse planetary atmospheres is now accepted by JGR Planets. Press links: Nature AstronomyUniverse Today, Phys Org, Astronomy.com, Discover Magazine.

A paper led by Robin and co-authored by Mark on the chemical and climate evolution of early Mars is now accepted by Nature Geoscience. 

February

Many congratulations to the Perseverance team for a succesful landing at Jezero!

2020

August

Congratulations to Huize for a successful PhD defense!!!

July

Mark’s first paper on the hydrology of Gale Crater, Mars, is now accepted.

June

We support the movement to end police brutality in America and remove public symbols of racism, colonialism and oppression worldwide. Black Lives Matter. 

March

Feng’s new paper on arid planet hydrology is accepted, the Lapotre et al. review piece in Nature Reviews on comparative planetology is out, and the coronavirus lockdown has started. Stay safe and healthy everyone.

January

Start of the new semester! Huize’s paper on 3D GCM convergence times has been accepted by ApJ, as has Kaitlyn’s paper on constraining exoplanet ocean inventories using the sulfur cycle.

2019

October

Wanying Kang’s paper on the dynamics of shortwave-absorbing atmospheres has been accepted by ApJ.

July

A new study from the Wordsworth group showing the potential for making Mars habitable in the future with silica aerogel via the solid-state greenhouse effect has been published in Nature Astronomy. Media links: GuardianNew ScientistAxiosPhysics WorldChemistry WorldUniverse Today

A new paper led by Constantin Arnscheidt (now at MIT) studying how climate and water loss transitions from planets like Earth all the way to comets should occur has been published in ApJ. Media links: ForbesIFL Science, astrobiology.com

May

Feng Ding’s 1st paper on the new line-by-line general climate model has been accepted in the Astrophysical Journal. 

April

Mark Baum and Kaitlyn Loftus have passed their qualifying exams with flying colors. Congratulations Mark and Kait!

January

Jake Seeley arrives as an incoming Harvard University Center for the Environment (HUCE) fellow. Welcome Jake!

NSF CAREER awarded to Wordsworth group to study the effect of extreme climate perturbations to Earth and Mars through time.

Pre-2019

Jezero Crater

https://www.seas.harvard.edu/news/2018/11/jezero-crater-here-we-come

UV Radiation and Life

https://www.cfa.harvard.edu/news/2017-27

Snowball Earth

https://www.seas.harvard.edu/news/2017/03/perfect-storm-of-fire-and-ice-may-have-led-to-snowball-earth

Methane on Mars

https://www.seas.harvard.edu/news/2017/01/bursts-of-methane-may-have-warmed-early-mars

Oxygen on Exoplanets

https://www.seas.harvard.edu/news/2016/08/venus-like-exoplanet-might-have-oxygen-atmosphere-but-not-life









Cover image details:

1) False-colour image of martian valley networks as captured by the Odyssey spacecraft (NASA).

2) Snapshot of H2O column amount in a high-resolution 3D GCM simulation of early Mars using the model described here.

3) Mars Express hi-res stereo image of a martian valley network near Palos Crater (ESA/DLR/FU Berlin).

4) Saturn's polar 'hexagon' as viewed by Cassini (NASA/JPL/SSI).


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© Robin Wordsworth 2021