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Title: Spectral Energy Transfer and Dissipation of Magnetic Energy from Fluid to Kinetic Scales

Publication Date:
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Fusion Energy Sciences (FES)
OSTI Identifier:
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: PHYSICAL REVIEW LETTERS; Journal Volume: 98; Journal Issue: 3
Country of Publication:
United States

Citation Formats

Bowers, K, and Li, H. Spectral Energy Transfer and Dissipation of Magnetic Energy from Fluid to Kinetic Scales. United States: N. p., 2007. Web. doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.98.035002.
Bowers, K, & Li, H. Spectral Energy Transfer and Dissipation of Magnetic Energy from Fluid to Kinetic Scales. United States. doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.98.035002.
Bowers, K, and Li, H. Fri . "Spectral Energy Transfer and Dissipation of Magnetic Energy from Fluid to Kinetic Scales". United States. doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.98.035002.
title = {Spectral Energy Transfer and Dissipation of Magnetic Energy from Fluid to Kinetic Scales},
author = {Bowers, K and Li, H},
abstractNote = {},
doi = {10.1103/PhysRevLett.98.035002},
number = 3,
volume = 98,
place = {United States},
year = {Fri Jan 19 00:00:00 EST 2007},
month = {Fri Jan 19 00:00:00 EST 2007}
  • We investigate the magnetic energy transfer from the fluid to kinetic scales and dissipation processes using three-dimensional fully kinetic particle-in-cell plasma simulations. The nonlinear evolution of a sheet pinch is studied where we show that it exhibits both fluid scale global relaxation and kinetic scale collisionless reconnection at multiple resonant surfaces. The interactions among collisionless tearing modes destroy the original flux surfaces and produce stochastic fields, along with generating sheets and filaments of intensified currents. In addition, the magnetic energy is transferred from the original shear length scale both to the large scales due to the global relaxation and tomore » the smaller, kinetic scales for dissipation. The dissipation is dominated by the thermal or pressure effect in the generalized Ohm's law, and electrons are preferentially accelerated.« less
  • We use kinetic particle-in-cell and MHD simulations supported by an observational data set to investigate magnetic reconnection in clusters of null points in space plasma. The magnetic configuration under investigation is driven by fast adiabatic flux rope compression that dissipates almost half of the initial magnetic field energy. In this phase powerful currents are excited producing secondary instabilities, and the system is brought into a state of “intermittent turbulence” within a few ion gyro-periods. Reconnection events are distributed all over the simulation domain and energy dissipation is rather volume-filling. Numerous spiral null points interconnected via their spines form null linesmore » embedded into magnetic flux ropes; null point pairs demonstrate the signatures of torsional spine reconnection. However, energy dissipation mainly happens in the shear layers formed by adjacent flux ropes with oppositely directed currents. In these regions radial null pairs are spontaneously emerging and vanishing, associated with electron streams and small-scale current sheets. The number of spiral nulls in the simulation outweighs the number of radial nulls by a factor of 5–10, in accordance with Cluster observations in the Earth's magnetosheath. Twisted magnetic fields with embedded spiral null points might indicate the regions of major energy dissipation for future space missions such as the Magnetospheric Multiscale Mission.« less
  • In hydrodynamic turbulence, it is well established that the length of the dissipation scale depends on the energy cascade rate, i.e., the larger the energy input rate per unit mass, the more the turbulent fluctuations need to be driven to increasingly smaller scales to dissipate the larger energy flux. Observations of magnetic spectral energy densities indicate that this intuitive picture is not valid in solar wind turbulence. Dissipation seems to set in at the same length scale for different solar wind conditions independently of the energy flux. To investigate this difference in more detail, we present an analytic dissipation modelmore » for solar wind turbulence at electron scales, which we compare with observed spectral densities. Our model combines the energy transport from large to small scales and collisionless damping, which removes energy from the magnetic fluctuations in the kinetic regime. We assume wave–particle interactions of kinetic Alfvén waves (KAWs) to be the main damping process. Wave frequencies and damping rates of KAWs are obtained from the hot plasma dispersion relation. Our model assumes a critically balanced turbulence, where larger energy cascade rates excite larger parallel wavenumbers for a certain perpendicular wavenumber. If the dissipation is additionally wave driven such that the dissipation rate is proportional to the parallel wavenumber—as with KAWs—then an increase of the energy cascade rate is counterbalanced by an increased dissipation rate for the same perpendicular wavenumber, leading to a dissipation length independent of the energy cascade rate.« less
  • We derive horizontal fluid motions on the solar surface over large areas covering the quiet-Sun magnetic network from local correlation tracking of convective granules imaged in continuum intensity and Doppler velocity by the Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager (HMI) on board the Solar Dynamics Observatory . From these we calculate the horizontal divergence, the vertical component of vorticity, and the kinetic helicity of fluid motions. We study the correlations between fluid divergence and vorticity, and between vorticity (kinetic helicity) and the magnetic field. We find that the vorticity (kinetic helicity) around small-scale fields exhibits a hemispherical pattern (in sign) similar tomore » that followed by the magnetic helicity of large-scale active regions (containing sunspots). We identify this pattern to be a result of the Coriolis force acting on supergranular-scale flows (both the outflows and inflows), consistent with earlier studies using local helioseismology. Furthermore, we show that the magnetic fields cause transfer of vorticity from supergranular inflow regions to outflow regions, and that they tend to suppress the vortical motions around them when magnetic flux densities exceed about 300 G (from HMI). We also show that such an action of the magnetic fields leads to marked changes in the correlations between fluid divergence and vorticity. These results are speculated to be of importance to local dynamo action (if present) and to the dynamical evolution of magnetic helicity at the small-scale.« less