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On modeling ICME cross-sections as static MHD columns View all abstracts by submitter

Prasad Subramanian   Submitted: 2022-03-16 23:23

Solar coronal mass ejections are well known to expand as they propagate through the heliosphere. Despite this, their cross-sections are usually modeled as static plasma columns within the magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) framework. We test the validity of this approach using in-situ plasma data from 151 magnetic clouds (MCs) observed by the WIND spacecraft and 45 observed by the Helios spacecrafts. We find that the most probable cross-section expansion speeds for the WIND events are only ≈0.06 times the Alfvén speed inside the MCs while the most probable cross-section expansion speeds for the Helios events is ≈0.03. MC cross-sections can thus be considered to be nearly static over an Alfvén crossing timescale. Using estimates of electrical conductivity arising from Coulomb collisions, we find that the Lundquist number inside MCs is high (≈1013), suggesting that the MHD description is well justified. The Joule heating rates using our conductivity estimates are several orders of magnitude lower than the requirement for plasma heating inside MCs near the Earth. While the (low) heating rates we compute are consistent with the MHD description, the discrepancy with the heating requirement points to possible departures from MHD and the need for a better understanding of plasma heating in MCs.

Authors: Debesh Bhattacharjee, Prasad Subramanian, Volker Bothmer, Teresa Nieves-Chinchilla, Angelos Vourlidas
Projects: None

Publication Status: Solar Physics, accepted
Last Modified: 2022-03-20 07:33
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