Clouds in brown dwarfs and giant planets



A growing body of observational and theoretical evidence points toward the importance of clouds in the atmospheres of ultra-cool brown dwarfs and giant planets. Empirically, the presence of clouds is inferred from the red, likely dusty atmospheres of young substellar objects, and from detections of periodic variability in a fraction of brown dwarfs – as expected from rotation and a patchy cloud cover. Theoretical models have progressed alongside by including ever more comprehensive atomic and molecular opacity tables, incorporating the treatment of non-equilibrium chemistry and clouds through vertical mixing and grain size/sedimentation parameters, and employing 3-D hydrodynamical simulations. In this proceeding we summarize the key issues raised during the first gathering of observers and theorists to discuss clouds and atmospheric circulation in non-irradiated ultra-cool dwarfs and giant planets. (© 2013 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim)