Turbulence is the leading candidate for angular momentum transport in protoplanetary disks and therefore influences disk lifetimes and planet formation timescales. However, the turbulent properties of protoplanetary disks are poorly constrained observationally. Simon et al. (2015) suggested that the ratio of the peak line flux to the flux at line center of the CO J=3-2 transition is a reasonable diagnostic of turbulence, while Flaherty et al. (2015) and Flaherty et al. (2017) found turbulent speeds in HD 163296 smaller than what fully-developed MRI would produce based on the Simon et al. (2015) simulation results. Yet Simon et al. (2015) and Flaherty et al. (2015) assumed a constant CO/H2 ratio of 0.0001 in locations where CO is not frozen-out or photodissociated. Yu et al. (2016) found that the CO abundance varies both with distance from the star and as a function of time because CO molecules are gradually dissociated, with the liberated carbon forming complex organic molecules that freeze out on grain surfaces. We simulate the emission lines of CO based on chemical evolution models presented in Yu et al. (2016), and find that the peak-to-trough ratio changes as a function of time as CO is destroyed. Specifically, a CO-depleted disk with high turbulent velocity mimics the peak-to-trough ratios of a non-CO-depleted disk with lower turbulent velocity. We suggest that disk observers and modelers take into account the possibility of CO depletion when using line peak-to-trough ratios to constrain the degree of turbulence in disks. Assuming that CO/H2 = 0.0001 at all disk radii can lead to underestimates of turbulent speeds in the disk by at least 0.2 km/s.
M. Yu, N. Evans, S. Dodson-Robinson, et. al.
Wed, 11 Oct 17
Comments: 12 pages, including 10 figures. Accepted for publication in Astrophysical Journal