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On the spatial scales of wave heating in the solar chromosphere View all abstracts by submitter

Roberto Soler   Submitted: 2015-08-07 01:12

Dissipation of magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) wave energy has been proposed as a viable heating mechanism in the solar chromospheric plasma. Here, we use a simplified one-dimensional model of the chromosphere to theoretically investigate the physical processes and the spatial scales that are required for the efficient dissipation of Alfvén waves and slow magnetoacoustic waves. We consider the governing equations for a partially ionized hydrogen-helium plasma in the single-fluid MHD approximation and include realistic wave damping mechanisms that may operate in the chromosphere, namely Ohmic and ambipolar magnetic diffusion, viscosity, thermal conduction, and radiative losses. We perform an analytic local study in the limit of small amplitudes to approximately derive the lengthscales for critical damping and efficient dissipation of MHD wave energy. We find that the critical dissipation lengthscale for Alfvén waves depends strongly on the magnetic field strength and ranges from 10~m to 1 km for realistic field strengths. The damping of Alfvén waves is dominated by Ohmic diffusion for weak magnetic field and low heights in the chromosphere, and by ambipolar diffusion for strong magnetic field and medium/large heights in the chromosphere. Conversely, the damping of slow magnetoacoustic waves is less efficient, and spatial scales shorter than 10~m are required for critical damping. Thermal conduction and viscosity govern the damping of slow magnetoacoustic waves and play an equally important role at all heights. These results indicate that the spatial scales at which strong wave heating may work in the chromosphere are currently unresolved by observations.

Authors: Roberto Soler, Marc Carbonell, Jose Luis Ballester
Projects: None

Publication Status: Accepted in ApJ
Last Modified: 2015-08-10 11:13
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