Tad KomacekPostdoctoral Scholar

Research Focus:
Planetary Science, Exoplanets, Atmospheric Dynamics
Hinds 473


I received my undergraduate degrees in Geophysical Sciences and Physics from the University of Chicago in 2013, and my Ph.D in planetary sciences from the University of Arizona in 2018. 

Research Interests:

My research is focused on leveraging observations of exoplanetary atmospheres to constrain theoretical models of their climate. I use a comparative planetology approach in which a large number of characterized exoplanets can be used to determine the robustness of theory and numerical simulations. In this way, exoplanets can serve as a testbed for models that were developed to understand Earth’s atmosphere and climate. In my research, I utilize a combination of pencil and paper theory, one-dimensional numerical planet internal and atmospheric structure modeling, and more sophisticated three-dimensional numerical circulation modeling. I compare the results of these models to observations in order to learn about processes operating in the atmospheres of exoplanets. At Chicago, I’m studying the atmospheric dynamics and climate of exoplanets in order to determine what observations with future space telescopes (e.g., the James Webb Space Telescope) can tell us about their atmospheres. 

Selected Publications:

T.D. Komacek, D.P. Thorngren, E.D. Lopez, and S. Ginzburg (2020), Re-inflation of Warm and Hot Jupiters, The Astrophysical Journal, 893:36.

T.D. Komacek, T.J. Fauchez, E.T. Wolf, and D.S. Abbot (2020), Clouds will Likely Prevent the Detection of Water Vapor in JWST Transmission Spectra of Terrestrial Exoplanets, The Astrophysical Journal Letters, 888:L20.

T.D. Komacek and A.P. Showman (2020), Temporal Variability in Hot Jupiter Atmospheres, The Astrophysical Journal, 888:2.

T.D. Komacek, M.F. Jansen, E.T. Wolf, and D.S. Abbot (2019), Scaling Relations for Terrestrial Exoplanet Atmospheres from Baroclinic Criticality, The Astrophysical Journal, 883:46.

T.D. Komacek, A.P. Showman, and V. Parmentier (2019), Vertical Tracer Mixing in Hot Jupiter Atmospheres, The Astrophysical Journal, 881:152.

H. Yang, T.D. Komacek, and D.S. Abbot (2019), Effects of Radius and Gravity on the Inner Edge of the Habitable Zone, The Astrophysical Journal Leters, 876:L27.

T.D. Komacek and D.S. Abbot (2019), The Atmospheric Circulation and Climate of Terrestrial Planets Orbiting Sun-like and M Dwarf Stars over a Broad Range of Planetary Parameters, The Astrophysical Journal, 871:245.

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