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On the control of rapidly rotating convection by an axially varying magnetic field

Gopinath, Venkatesh and Sreenivasan, Binod (2015) On the control of rapidly rotating convection by an axially varying magnetic field. In: GEOPHYSICAL AND ASTROPHYSICAL FLUID DYNAMICS, 109 (6). pp. 567-586.

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/03091929.2015.1092024 ...


The magnetic field in rapidly rotating dynamos is spatially inhomogeneous. The axial variation of the magnetic field is of particular importance because tall columnar vortices aligned with the rotation axis form at the onset of convection. The classical picture of magnetoconvection with constant or axially varying magnetic fields is that the Rayleigh number and wavenumber at onset decrease appreciably from their non-magnetic values. Nonlinear dynamo simulations show that the axial lengthscale of the self-generated azimuthal magnetic field becomes progressively smaller as we move towards a rapidly rotating regime. With a small-scale field, however, the magnetic control of convection is different from that in previous studies with a uniform or large-scale field. This study looks at the competing viscous and magnetic mode instabilities when the Ekman number E (ratio of viscous to Coriolis forces) is small. As the applied magnetic field strength (measured by the Elsasser number Lambda) increases, the critical Rayleigh number for onset of convection initially increases in a viscous branch, reaches an apex where both viscous and magnetic instabilities co-exist, and then falls in the magnetic branch. The magnetic mode of onset is notable for its dramatic suppression of convection in the bulk of the fluid layer where the field is weak. The viscous-magnetic mode transition occurs at Lambda similar to 1, which implies that small-scale convection can exist at field strengths higher than previously thought. In spherical shell dynamos with basal heating, convection near the tangent cylinder is likely to be in the magnetic mode. The wavenumber of convection is only slightly reduced by the self-generated magnetic field at Lambda similar to 1, in agreement with previous planetary dynamo models. The back reaction of the magnetic field on the flow is, however, visible in the difference in kinetic helicity between cyclonic and anticyclonic vortices.

Item Type: Journal Article
Additional Information: Copy right for this article belongs to the TAYLOR & FRANCIS LTD, 4 PARK SQUARE, MILTON PARK, ABINGDON OX14 4RN, OXON, ENGLAND
Keywords: Rapid rotation; Magnetoconvection; Two-scale convection; Geodynamo; Tangent cylinder; Helicity generation
Department/Centre: Division of Mechanical Sciences > Centre for Earth Sciences
Date Deposited: 24 Nov 2015 06:01
Last Modified: 24 Nov 2015 06:01
URI: http://eprints.iisc.ac.in/id/eprint/52804

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