Confinement of the solar tachocline by a cyclic dynamo magnetic field
1 Laboratoire AIM, DSM/IRFU/SAp, CEA Saclay, 91191 Gif-sur-Yvette Cedex, France
2 Département de Physique, Université de Montréal, CP 6128 Succ. Centre-ville, Montréal, Québec, H3C 3J7, Canada
3 Observatoire de Paris, CNRS UMR 8102, Université Paris Diderot, 5 place Jules Janssen, 92195 Meudon, France
Received: 1 December 2016
Accepted: 3 February 2017
Context. The surprising thinness of the solar tachocline is still not understood with certainty today. Among the numerous possible scenarios suggested to explain its radial confinement, one hypothesis is based on Maxwell stresses that are exerted by the cyclic dynamo magnetic field of the Sun penetrating over a skin depth below the turbulent convection zone.
Aims. Our goal is to assess under which conditions (turbulence level in the tachocline, strength of the dynamo-generated field, spreading mechanism) this scenario can be realized in the solar tachocline.
Methods. We develop a simplified 1D model of the upper tachocline under the influence of an oscillating magnetic field imposed from above. The turbulent transport is parametrized with enhanced turbulent diffusion (or anti-diffusion) coefficients. Two main processes that thicken the tachocline are considered; either turbulent viscous spreading or radiative spreading. An extensive parameter study is carried out to establish the physical parameter regimes under which magnetic confinement of the tachocline that is due to a surface dynamo field can be realized.
Results. We have explored a large range of magnetic field amplitudes, viscosities, ohmic diffusivities and thermal diffusivities. We find that, for large but still realistic magnetic field strengths, the differential rotation can be suppressed in the upper radiative zone (and hence the tachocline confined) if weak turbulence is present (with an enhanced ohmic diffusivity of η> 107−8 cm2/ s), even in the presence of radiative spreading.
Conclusions. Our results show that a dynamo magnetic field can, in the presence of weak turbulence, prevent the inward burrowing of a tachocline subject to viscous diffusion or radiative spreading.
Key words: Sun: rotation / Sun: interior / magnetohydrodynamics (MHD)
© ESO, 2017