EDP Sciences
Free access
Volume 430, Number 3, February II 2005
Page(s) L57 - L60
Section Letters
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:200400130

A&A 430, L57-L60 (2005)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:200400130


Mesoscale flows in large aspect ratio simulations of turbulent compressible convection

F. Rincon, F. Lignières and M. Rieutord

Laboratoire d'Astrophysique de Toulouse-Tarbes, UMR CNRS 5572, Observatoire Midi-Pyrénées, 14 avenue É. Belin, 31400 Toulouse, France
    e-mail: rincon@ast.obs-mip.fr

(Received 23 August 2004 / Accepted 19 December 2004)

We present the results of a very large aspect ratio ( A=42.6) numerical simulation of fully compressible turbulent convection in a polytropic atmosphere, and focus on the properties of large-scale flows. Mesoscale patterns dominate the turbulent energy spectrum. We show that these structures, which had already been observed in Boussinesq simulations by Cattaneo et al. (2001), have a genuine convective origin and do not result directly from collective interactions of the smaller scales of the flow, even though their growth is strongly affected by nonlinear transfers. If this result is relevant to the solar photosphere, it suggests that the dominant convective mode below the Sun's surface may be at mesoscales.

Key words: Sun: granulation -- convection -- turbulence

© ESO 2005