Large-scale dynamos in rapidly rotating plane layer convection
School of Mathematics, Statistics and Physics, Newcastle University,
Newcastle upon Tyne,
NE1 7RU, UK
2 Leibniz-Institut für Astrophysik Potsdam, An der Sternwarte 16, 11482 Potsdam, Germany
3 ReSoLVE Centre of Excellence, Department of Computer Science, Aalto University, PO Box 15400, 00076 Aalto, Finland
4 Max-Planck-Institut für Sonnensystemforschung, Justus-von-Liebig-Weg 3, 37077 Göttingen, Germany
5 Nordita, KTH Royal Institute of Technology and Stockholm University, Roslagstullsbacken 23, 10691 Stockholm, Sweden
6 Department of Physics and Astronomy, Aichi University of Education, Kariya, Aichi 446-8501, Japan
7 JILA and Department of Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences, University of Colorado, Box 440, Boulder, CO 80303, USA
8 Department of Astronomy, AlbaNova University Center, Stockholm University, 10691 Stockholm, Sweden
9 Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, 3665 Discovery Drive, Boulder, CO 80303, USA
10 Aix Marseille Univ., CNRS, Centrale Marseille, IRPHE UMR 7342, Marseille, France
Accepted: 15 January 2018
Context. Convectively driven flows play a crucial role in the dynamo processes that are responsible for producing magnetic activity in stars and planets. It is still not fully understood why many astrophysical magnetic fields have a significant large-scale component.
Aims. Our aim is to investigate the dynamo properties of compressible convection in a rapidly rotating Cartesian domain, focusing upon a parameter regime in which the underlying hydrodynamic flow is known to be unstable to a large-scale vortex instability.
Methods. The governing equations of three-dimensional non-linear magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) are solved numerically. Different numerical schemes are compared and we propose a possible benchmark case for other similar codes.
Results. In keeping with previous related studies, we find that convection in this parameter regime can drive a large-scale dynamo. The components of the mean horizontal magnetic field oscillate, leading to a continuous overall rotation of the mean field. Whilst the large-scale vortex instability dominates the early evolution of the system, the large-scale vortex is suppressed by the magnetic field and makes a negligible contribution to the mean electromotive force that is responsible for driving the large-scale dynamo. The cycle period of the dynamo is comparable to the ohmic decay time, with longer cycles for dynamos in convective systems that are closer to onset. In these particular simulations, large-scale dynamo action is found only when vertical magnetic field boundary conditions are adopted at the upper and lower boundaries. Strongly modulated large-scale dynamos are found at higher Rayleigh numbers, with periods of reduced activity (grand minima-like events) occurring during transient phases in which the large-scale vortex temporarily re-establishes itself, before being suppressed again by the magnetic field.
Key words: convection / dynamo / instabilities / magnetic fields / magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) / methods: numerical
© ESO 2018