Plasma and magnetic field measurements by Ulysses are used to investigate the radial evolution of hourly-scale Alfvénic fluctuations in the polar wind. The data span from 1.4 to 4.3 AU in heliocentric distance. Different radial regimes at different distances emerge. Inside about 2.5 AU the large outward traveling fluctuations decrease faster, in terms of energy per unit mass, than the small inward ones. This is in agreement with previous low-latitude observations inside 1 AU within the trailing edge of fast streams. As a result of this different gradient the ratio of inward to outward fluctuation energy rises to about 0.5 near 2.5 AU. Beyond this distance the radial gradient of the inward fluctuations becomes increasingly steeper, while that of the outward ones does not vary appreciably. A state is quickly reached where both populations decline at almost the same rate. These results on the behavior of outward and inward Alfvénic fluctuations are new and represent a constraint for models of turbulence evolution in steadily expanding flows like the polar wind. Finally, an extrapolation to regions near the Sun would suggest that Alfvénic fluctuations at hourly scale should not play a relevant role in solar wind heating and acceleration. Obviously, this last conclusion may be invalidated by non-WKB effects and by compressive and dissipative processess close to the Sun.

On the evolution of outward and inward Alfvénic fluctuations in the polar wind

PIETROPAOLO, Ermanno;
2000-01-01

Abstract

Plasma and magnetic field measurements by Ulysses are used to investigate the radial evolution of hourly-scale Alfvénic fluctuations in the polar wind. The data span from 1.4 to 4.3 AU in heliocentric distance. Different radial regimes at different distances emerge. Inside about 2.5 AU the large outward traveling fluctuations decrease faster, in terms of energy per unit mass, than the small inward ones. This is in agreement with previous low-latitude observations inside 1 AU within the trailing edge of fast streams. As a result of this different gradient the ratio of inward to outward fluctuation energy rises to about 0.5 near 2.5 AU. Beyond this distance the radial gradient of the inward fluctuations becomes increasingly steeper, while that of the outward ones does not vary appreciably. A state is quickly reached where both populations decline at almost the same rate. These results on the behavior of outward and inward Alfvénic fluctuations are new and represent a constraint for models of turbulence evolution in steadily expanding flows like the polar wind. Finally, an extrapolation to regions near the Sun would suggest that Alfvénic fluctuations at hourly scale should not play a relevant role in solar wind heating and acceleration. Obviously, this last conclusion may be invalidated by non-WKB effects and by compressive and dissipative processess close to the Sun.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11697/20668
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