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We present here observational evidence that the snowline plays a significant role in the formation and evolution of gas giant planets. When considering the population of observed exoplanets, we find a boundary in mass-semimajor axis space that suggests that planets are preferentially found beyond the snowline prior to undergoing gap-opening inward migration and associated gas accretion. This is consistent with theoretical models suggesting that sudden changes in opacity - as would occur at the snowline - can influence core migration. Furthermore, population synthesis modelling suggests that this boundary implies that gas giant planets accrete ~70 per cent of the inward flowing gas, allowing ~30 per cent through to the inner disc. This is qualitatively consistent with observations of transition discs suggesting the presence of inner holes, despite there being ongoing gas accretion.© 2012 The Authors Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society.

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Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

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