Journal Article

Magnetic buoyancy instabilities in the presence of magnetic flux pumping at the base of the solar convection zone

Adrian J. Barker, Lara J. Silvers, Michael R. E. Proctor and Nigel O. Weiss

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 424, issue 1, pages 115-127
Published in print July 2012 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online July 2012 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI:
Magnetic buoyancy instabilities in the presence of magnetic flux pumping at the base of the solar convection zone

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We perform idealized numerical simulations of magnetic buoyancy instabilities in three dimensions, solving the equations of compressible magnetohydrodynamics in a model of the solar tachocline. In particular, we study the effects of including a highly simplified model of magnetic flux pumping in an upper layer (‘the convection zone’) on magnetic buoyancy instabilities in a lower layer (‘the upper parts of the radiative interior – including the tachocline’), to study these competing flux transport mechanisms at the base of the convection zone. The results of the inclusion of this effect in numerical simulations of the buoyancy instability of both a preconceived magnetic slab and a shear-generated magnetic layer are presented. In the former, we find that if we are in the regime that the downward pumping velocity is comparable with the Alfvén speed of the magnetic layer, magnetic flux pumping is able to hold back the bulk of the magnetic field, with only small pockets of strong field able to rise into the upper layer.

In simulations in which the magnetic layer is generated by shear, we find that the shear velocity is not necessarily required to exceed that of the pumping (therefore the kinetic energy of the shear is not required to exceed that of the overlying convection) for strong localized pockets of magnetic field to be produced which can rise into the upper layer. This is because magnetic flux pumping acts to store the field below the interface, allowing it to be amplified both by the shear and by vortical fluid motions, until pockets of field can achieve sufficient strength to rise into the upper layer. In addition, we find that the interface between the two layers is a natural location for the production of strong vertical gradients in the magnetic field. If these gradients are sufficiently strong to allow the development of magnetic buoyancy instabilities, strong shear is not necessarily required to drive them (cf. previous work by Vasil & Brummell). We find that the addition of magnetic flux pumping appears to be able to assist shear-driven magnetic buoyancy in producing strong flux concentrations that can rise up into the convection zone from the radiative interior.

Keywords: hydrodynamics; instabilities; magnetic fields; MHD; Sun: interior; Sun: magnetic topology

Journal Article.  9781 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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