Letter to the Editor
A solar surface dynamo
Max-Planck-Institut für Sonnensystemforschung, Max-Planck-Strasse 2, 37191 Katlenburg-Lindau, Germany e-mail: [voegler;msch]@mps.mpg.de
Accepted: 21 February 2007
Context.Observations indicate that the “quiet” solar photosphere outside active regions contains considerable amounts of magnetic energy and magnetic flux, with mixed polarity on small scales. The origin of this flux is unclear.
Aims.We test whether local dynamo action of the near-surface convection (granulation) can generate a significant contribution to the observed magnetic flux.
Methods.We have carried out MHD simulations of solar surface convection, including the effects of strong stratification, compressibility, partial ionization, radiative transfer, as well as an open lower boundary.
Results. Exponential growth of a weak magnetic seed field (with vanishing net flux through the computational box) is found in a simulation run with a magnetic Reynolds number of about 2600. The magnetic energy approaches saturation at a level of a few percent of the total kinetic energy of the convective motions. Near the visible solar surface, the (unsigned) magnetic flux density reaches at least a value of about 25 G.
Conclusions.A realistic flow topology of stratified, compressible, non-helical surface convection without enforced recirculation is capable of turbulent local dynamo action near the solar surface.
Key words: Sun: magnetic fields / Sun: photosphere / magnetohydrodynamics (MHD)
© ESO, 2007