Journal Article

The tachocline and differential rotation in the Sun

Steven A. Balbus and Henrik N. Latter

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 407, issue 4, pages 2565-2574
Published in print October 2010 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online July 2010 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI:
The tachocline and differential rotation in the Sun

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In this paper, we present a model for the effects of the tachocline on the differential rotation in the solar convection zone. The mathematical technique relies on the assumption that entropy is nearly constant (‘well mixed’) in isorotation surfaces both outside and within the tachocline. The resulting solutions exhibit non-trivial features that strikingly resemble the true tachocline isorotation contours in unexpected detail. This strengthens the mathematical premises of the theory. The observed rotation pattern in the tachocline shows strong quadupolar structure, an important feature that is explicitly used in constructing our solutions. The tachocline is treated locally as an interior boundary layer of small but finite thickness, and an explicit global solution is then constructed. A dynamical link can thus be established between the internal jump in the angular velocity at the tachocline and the spread of angular velocities observed near the solar surface. In general, our results suggest that the bulk of the solar convection zone is in thermal wind balance, and that simple quadrupolar stresses, local in radius, mediate the tachocline transition from differential rotation to uniform rotation in the radiative interior.

Keywords: convection; hydrodynamics; Sun: helioseismology; Sun: rotation; stars: rotation

Journal Article.  5559 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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