The Effect of Magnetic Turbulence Energy Spectra and Pickup Ions on the Heating of the Solar Wind

Academic Article


  • In recent years, a phenomenological solar wind heating model based on a turbulent energy cascade prescribed by the Kolmogorov theory has produced reasonably good agreement with observations on proton temperatures out to distances around 70 AU, provided the effect of turbulence generation due to pickup ions is included in the model. In a recent study [Ng et al., J. Geophys. Res., 115, A02101 (2010)], we have incorporated in the heating model the energy cascade rate based on Iroshnikov-Kraichnan (IK) scaling. We showed that the IK cascade rate can also produce good agreement with observations, with or without the inclusion of pickup ions. This effect was confirmed both by integrating the model using average boundary conditions at 1 AU, and by applying a method [Smith et al., Astrophys. J., 638, 508 (2006)] that uses directly observed values as boundary conditions. The effects due to pickup ions is found to be less important for the IK spectrum, which is shallower than the Kolmogorov spectrum. In this paper, we will present calculations of the pickup ions effect in more details, and discuss the physical reason why a shallower spectrum generates less waves and turbulence.
  • Authors

  • Ng, CS
  • Bhattacharjee, A
  • Isenberg, PA
  • Munsi, D
  • Smith, Charles
  • Status

    Publication Date

  • 2010
  • Published In


  • MHD turbulence
  • Pickup ions
  • Solar wind heating
  • Wave-particle interaction
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Start Page

  • 174
  • End Page

  • +
  • Volume

  • 1302
  • Issue

  • 1