Phase mixing of nonlinear Alfvén waves
School of Mathematics and Statistics, University of St Andrews, St Andrews, Fife KY16 9SS, UK
Accepted: 2 March 2019
Aims. This paper presents 2.5D numerical experiments of Alfvén wave phase mixing and aims to assess the effects of nonlinearities on wave behaviour and dissipation. In addition, this paper aims to quantify how effective the model presented in this work is at providing energy to the coronal volume.
Methods. The model is presented and explored through the use of several numerical experiments which were carried out using the Lare2D code. The experiments study footpoint driven Alfvén waves in the neighbourhood of a two-dimensional x-type null point with initially uniform density and plasma pressure. A continuous sinusoidal driver with a constant frequency is used. Each experiment uses different driver amplitudes to compare weakly nonlinear experiments with linear experiments.
Results. We find that the wave trains phase-mix owing to variations in the length of each field line and variations in the field strength. The nonlinearities reduce the amount of energy entering the domain, as they reduce the effectiveness of the driver, but they have relatively little effect on the damping rate (for the range of amplitudes studied). The nonlinearities produce density structures which change the natural frequencies of the field lines and hence cause the resonant locations to move. The shifting of the resonant location causes the Poynting flux associated with the driver to decrease. Reducing the magnetic diffusivity increases the energy build-up on the resonant field lines, however, it has little effect on the total amount of energy entering the system. From an order of magnitude estimate, we show that the Poynting flux in our experiments is comparable to the energy requirements of the quiet Sun corona. However a (possibly unphysically) large amount of magnetic diffusion was used however and it remains unclear if the model is able to provide enough energy under actual coronal conditions.
Key words: Sun: corona / Sun: magnetic fields / magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) / Sun: oscillations / waves
© ESO 2019