Extreme value statistics for two-dimensional convective penetration in a pre-main sequence star
1 Astrophysics, College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences, University of Exeter, EX4 4QL, Exeter, UK
2 École Normale Supérieure de Lyon, CRAL (UMR CNRS 5574), Université de Lyon 1, 69007 Lyon, France
3 Monash Centre for Astrophysics (MoCA) and School of Physics & Astronomy, Monash University, Clayton Vic 3800, Australia
4 Max-Planck-Institut für Astrophysik, Karl Schwarzschild Strasse 1, 85741 Garching, Germany
Received: 26 December 2016
Accepted: 12 June 2017
Context. In the interior of stars, a convectively unstable zone typically borders a zone that is stable to convection. Convective motions can penetrate the boundary between these zones, creating a layer characterized by intermittent convective mixing, and gradual erosion of the density and temperature stratification.
Aims. We examine a penetration layer formed between a central radiative zone and a large convection zone in the deep interior of a young low-mass star. Using the Multidimensional Stellar Implicit Code (MUSIC) to simulate two-dimensional compressible stellar convection in a spherical geometry over long times, we produce statistics that characterize the extent and impact of convective penetration in this layer.
Methods. We apply extreme value theory to the maximal extent of convective penetration at any time. We compare statistical results from simulations which treat non-local convection, throughout a large portion of the stellar radius, with simulations designed to treat local convection in a small region surrounding the penetration layer. For each of these situations, we compare simulations of different resolution, which have different velocity magnitudes. We also compare statistical results between simulations that radiate energy at a constant rate to those that allow energy to radiate from the stellar surface according to the local surface temperature.
Results. Based on the frequency and depth of penetrating convective structures, we observe two distinct layers that form between the convection zone and the stable radiative zone. We show that the probability density function of the maximal depth of convective penetration at any time corresponds closely in space with the radial position where internal waves are excited. We find that the maximal penetration depth can be modeled by a Weibull distribution with a small shape parameter. Using these results, and building on established scalings for diffusion enhanced by large-scale convective motions, we propose a new form for the diffusion coefficient that may be used for one-dimensional stellar evolution calculations in the large Péclet number regime. These results should contribute to the 321D link.
Key words: methods: numerical / convection / stars: interiors / stars: low-mass / stars: evolution
© ESO, 2017