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Journal Articles The Astrophysical Journal Year : 2013

Magnetic wreaths and cycles in convective dynamos


Solar-type stars exhibit a rich variety of magnetic activity. Seeking to explore the convective origins of this activity, we have carried out a series of global three-dimensional magnetohydrodynamic simulations with the anelastic spherical harmonic code. Here we report on the dynamo mechanisms achieved as the effects of artificial diffusion are systematically decreased. The simulations are carried out at a nominal rotation rate of three times the solar value (3 Ω☉), but similar dynamics may also apply to the Sun. Our previous simulations demonstrated that convective dynamos can build persistent toroidal flux structures (magnetic wreaths) in the midst of a turbulent convection zone and that high rotation rates promote the cyclic reversal of these wreaths. Here we demonstrate that magnetic cycles can also be achieved by reducing the diffusion, thus increasing the Reynolds and magnetic Reynolds numbers. In these more turbulent models, diffusive processes no longer play a significant role in the key dynamical balances that establish and maintain the differential rotation and magnetic wreaths. Magnetic reversals are attributed to an imbalance in the poloidal magnetic induction by convective motions that is stabilized at higher diffusion levels. Additionally, the enhanced levels of turbulence lead to greater intermittency in the toroidal magnetic wreaths, promoting the generation of buoyant magnetic loops that rise from the deep interior to the upper regions of our simulated domain. The implications of such turbulence-induced magnetic buoyancy for solar and stellar flux emergence are also discussed.

Dates and versions

cea-00827714 , version 1 (29-05-2013)



Nicholas J. Nelson, Benjamin P. Brown, A.S. Brun, Mark S. Miesch, Juri Toomre. Magnetic wreaths and cycles in convective dynamos. The Astrophysical Journal, 2013, 762 (2), pp.73. ⟨10.1088/0004-637X/762/2/73⟩. ⟨cea-00827714⟩
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