Diffusion and limiting flux

For planets such as the Earth, and giant planet satellites such as Titan and Triton, where exospheric escape is of importance, the rate of exospheric escape is actually limited by the rate at which molecules may be transported to the exobase from below by processes such as diffusion, as described by Chamberlain and Hunten (1987). The approach of Chamberlain and Hunten (1987) is reproduced here for the reader's convenience.

Suppose a minor constituent has a density distribution nt (z) in an atmosphere where its density distribution in diffusive equilibrium would be niE (z), then by the

which may be integrated to give

Table 3.1. Calculated exospheric escape times for the giant planets, Earth, Titan, and Triton.

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