Propagation and dissipation of Alfvén waves in stellar atmospheres permeated by isothermal winds
Dipartimento di Astronomia e Scienza dello Spazio, Firenze, Italy
2 Department of Mathematics, University of Waikato, Private Bag 3105, Hamilton, New Zeland
Accepted: 21 June 2005
We investigate the nonlinear evolution of Alfvén waves in a radially stratified isothermal atmosphere with wind, from the atmospheric base out to the Alfvénic point. Nonlinear interactions, triggered by wave reflection due to the atmospheric gradients, are assumed to occur mainly in directions perpendicular to the mean radial magnetic field. The nonlinear coupling between waves propagating in opposite directions is modeled by a phenomenological term, containing an integral turbulent length scale, which acts as a dissipative coefficient for waves of a given frequency. Although the wind acceleration profile is not determined self-consistently one may estimate the dissipation rate inside the layer and follow the evolution of an initial frequency spectrum. Reflection of low frequency waves drives dissipation across the whole spectrum, and steeper gradients, i.e. lower coronal temperatures, enhance the dissipation rate. Moreover, when reasonable wave amplitudes are considered, waves of all frequencies damp at the same rate and the spectrum is not modified substantially during propagation. Therefore the sub-Alfvénic coronal layer acts differently when waves interact nonlinearly, no longer behaving as a frequency dependent filter once reflection-generated nonlinear interactions are included, at least within the classes of models discussed here.
Key words: magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) / turbulence / waves
© ESO, 2005