Large-scale dynamos in turbulent convection with shear
Observatory, Tähtitorninmäki (PO Box 14), 00014 University of Helsinki, Finland e-mail: email@example.com
2 NORDITA, Roslagstullsbacken 23, 10691 Stockholm, Sweden
Accepted: 30 September 2008
Aims. To study the existence of large-scale convective dynamos under the influence of shear and rotation.
Methods. Three-dimensional numerical simulations of penetrative compressible convection with uniform horizontal shear are used to study dynamo action and the generation of large-scale magnetic fields. We consider cases where the magnetic Reynolds number is either marginal or moderately supercritical with respect to small-scale dynamo action in the absence of shear and rotation. Our magnetic Reynolds number is based on the wavenumber of the depth of the convectively unstable layer. The effects of magnetic helicity fluxes are studied by comparing results for the magnetic field with open and closed boundaries.
Results. Without shear no large-scale dynamos are found even if the ingredients necessary for the α-effect (rotation and stratification) are present in the system. When uniform horizontal shear is added, a large-scale magnetic field develops, provided the boundaries are open. In this case the mean magnetic field contains a significant fraction of the total field. For those runs where the magnetic Reynolds number is between 60 and 250, an additional small-scale dynamo is expected to be excited, but the field distribution is found to be similar to cases with smaller magnetic Reynolds number where the small-scale dynamo is not excited. In the case of closed (perfectly conducting) boundaries, magnetic helicity fluxes are suppressed and no large-scale fields are found. Similarly, poor large-scale field development is seen when vertical shear is used in combination with periodic boundary conditions in the horizontal directions. If, however, open (normal-field) boundary conditions are used in the x-direction, a large-scale field develops. These results support the notion that shear not only helps to generate the field, but it also plays a crucial role in driving magnetic helicity fluxes out of the system along the isocontours of shear, thereby allowing efficient dynamo action.
Key words: magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) / convection / turbulence / Sun: magnetic fields / stars: magnetic fields
© ESO, 2008