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Title: Theory and simulations of rotating convection

We study thermal convection in a rotating fluid in order to better understand the properties of convection zones in rotating stars and planets. We first derive a mixing-length theory for rapidly rotating convection, arriving at the results of Stevenson via simple physical arguments. The theory predicts the properties of convection as a function of the imposed heat flux and rotation rate, independent of microscopic diffusivities. In particular, it predicts the mean temperature gradient, the rms velocity and temperature fluctuations, and the size of the eddies that dominate heat transport. We test all of these predictions with high resolution three-dimensional hydrodynamical simulations of Boussinesq convection in a Cartesian box. The results agree remarkably well with the theory across more than two orders of magnitude in rotation rate. For example, the temperature gradient is predicted to scale as the rotation rate to the four-fifths power at fixed flux, and the simulations yield 0.75 ± 0.06. We conclude that the mixing-length theory is a solid foundation for understanding the properties of convection zones in rotating stars and planets.
Authors:
; ;  [1]
  1. Center for Interdisciplinary Exploration and Research in Astrophysics (CIERA) and Department of Physics and Astronomy, Northwestern University, 2145 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60208 (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22365421
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Astrophysical Journal; Journal Volume: 791; Journal Issue: 1; Other Information: Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTROPHYSICS, COSMOLOGY AND ASTRONOMY; CONVECTION; FLUCTUATIONS; FLUIDS; FORECASTING; HEAT FLUX; HYDRODYNAMICS; PLANETS; RESOLUTION; ROTATION; SIMULATION; SOLIDS; STARS; TEMPERATURE GRADIENTS; THREE-DIMENSIONAL CALCULATIONS; TURBULENCE