Dynamics of the fast solar tachocline I. Dipolar field

E. Forgács-Dajka, K. Petrovay

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37 Citations (Scopus)


One possible scenario for the origin of the solar tachocline, known as the "fast tachocline", assumes that the turbulent diffusivity exceeds η≳109 cm2 s-1. In this case the dynamics will be governed by the dynamo-generated oscillatory magnetic field on relatively short timescales. Here, for the first time, we present detailed numerical models for the fast solar tachocline with all components of the magnetic field calculated explicitly, assuming axial symmetry and a constant turbulent diffusivity η and viscosity ν. We find that a sufficiently strong oscillatory poloidal field with dipolar latitude dependence at the tachocline-convective zone boundary is able to confine the tachocline. Exploring the three-dimensional parameter space defined by the viscosity in the range log ν = 9-11, the magnetic Prandtl number in the range Prm = 0.1-10, and the meridional flow amplitude (-3 to +3 cm s-1), we also find that the confining field strength Bconf, necessary to reproduce the observed thickness of the tachocline, increases with viscosity ν, with magnetic Prandtl number ν/η, and with equatorward meridional flow speed. Nevertheless, the resulting Bconf values remain quite reasonable, in the range 103-104 G, for all parameter combinations considered here. The thickness of the tachocline shows a marked dependence on both time and latitude. The latitude dependence is similar to that inferred by helioseismology, while the time dependence is within the observational errors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)629-640
Number of pages12
JournalAstronomy and Astrophysics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2002


  • MHD - Sun: rotation
  • Sun: interior

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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