Systematic Difference between Ionized and Molecular Gas Velocity Dispersions in z ∼ 1-2 Disks and Local Analogs

M. Girard, D. B. Fisher, A. D. Bolatto, R. Abraham, R. Bassett, K. Glazebrook, R. Herrera-Camus, E. Jiménez, L. Lenkić, D. Obreschkow

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4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We compare the molecular and ionized gas velocity dispersions of nine nearby turbulent disks, analogs to high-redshift galaxies, from the DYNAMO sample using new Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array and GMOS/Gemini observations. We combine our sample with 12 galaxies at z ∼ 0.5-2.5 from the literature. We find that the resolved velocity dispersion is systematically lower by a factor 2.45 ± 0.38 for the molecular gas compared to the ionized gas, after correcting for thermal broadening. This offset is constant within the galaxy disks and indicates the coexistence of a thin molecular gas disk and a thick ionized one. This result has a direct impact on the Toomre Q and pressure derived in galaxies. We obtain pressures ∼0.22 dex lower on average when using the molecular gas velocity dispersion, σ0,mol. We find that σ0,mol increases with gas fraction and star formation rate. We also obtain an increase with redshift and show that the EAGLE and FIRE simulations overall overestimate σ0,mol at high redshift. Our results suggest that efforts to compare the kinematics of gas using ionized gas as a proxy for the total gas may overestimate the velocity dispersion by a significant amount in galaxies at the peak of cosmic star formation. When using the molecular gas as a tracer, our sample is not consistent with predictions from star formation models with constant efficiency, even when including transport as a source of turbulence. Feedback models with variable star formation efficiency, ɛff, and/or feedback efficiency, p*/m*, better predict our observations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12
JournalThe Astrophysical Journal
Volume909
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2021

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