A 3D kinematic Babcock Leighton solar dynamo model sustained by dynamic magnetic buoyancy and flux transport processes
Institut de Recherche en Astrophysique et Planétologie, Université de Toulouse, CNRS, UPS, CNES, 31400 Toulouse, France
2 Center of Excellence in Space Sciences India, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research Kolkata, Mohanpur 741246, West Bengal, India
3 Department of Physical Sciences, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research Kolkata, Mohanpur 741246, West Bengal, India
Accepted: 7 January 2019
Context. Magnetohydrodynamic interactions between plasma flows and magnetic fields is fundamental to the origin and sustenance of the 11-year sunspot cycle. These processes are intrinsically three-dimensional (3D) in nature.
Aims. Our goal is to construct a 3D solar dynamo model that on the one hand captures the buoyant emergence of tilted bipolar sunspot pairs, and on the other hand produces cyclic large-scale field reversals mediated via surface flux-transport processes – that is, the Babcock-Leighton mechanism. Furthermore, we seek to explore the relative roles of flux transport by buoyancy, advection by meridional circulation, and turbulent diffusion in this 3D dynamo model.
Methods. We perform kinematic dynamo simulations where the prescribed velocity field is a combination of solar-like differential rotation and meridional circulation, along with a parametrized turbulent diffusivity. We use a novel methodology for modeling magnetic buoyancy through field-strength-dependent 3D helical up-flows that results in the formation of tilted bipolar sunspots.
Results. The bipolar spots produced in our simulations participate in the process of poloidal-field generation through the Babcock-Leighton mechanism, resulting in self-sustained and periodic large-scale magnetic field reversal. Our parameter space study varying the amplitude of the meridional flow, the convection zone diffusivity, and parameters governing the efficiency of the magnetic buoyancy mechanism reveal their relative roles in determining properties of the sunspot cycle such as amplitude, period, and dynamical memory relevant to solar cycle prediction. We also derive a new dynamo number for the Babcock-Leighton solar dynamo mechanism which reasonably captures our model dynamics.
Conclusions. This study elucidates the relative roles of different flux-transport processes in the Sun’s convection zone in determining the properties and physics of the sunspot cycle and could potentially lead to realistic, data-driven 3D dynamo models for solar-activity predictions and exploration of stellar magnetism and starspot formation in other stars.
Key words: sunspots / dynamo / Sun: magnetic fields / methods: numerical / Sun: interior / Sun: activity
© R. Kumar et al. 2019
Open Access article, published by EDP Sciences, under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.