Hemispherical Parker waves driven by thermal shear in planetary dynamos
1 Department of Applied Mathematics, University of Leeds - Leeds LS2 9JT, UK
2 Max - Planck-Institut für Sonnensystemforschung - Max-Planck-Strasse 2, 37191 Katlenburg - Lindau, Germany
Received: 5 August 2013
Accepted: 27 November 2013
Planetary and stellar magnetic fields are thought to be sustained by helical motions (α-effect) and, if present, differential rotation (Ω-effect). In the Sun, the strong differential rotation in the tachocline is responsible for an efficient Ω-effect creating a strong axisymmetric azimuthal magnetic field. This is a prerequisite for Parker dynamo waves that may be responsible for the solar cycle. In the liquid iron cores of terrestrial planets, the Coriolis force organizes convection into columns with a strong helical flow component. These likely dominate magnetic field generation while the Ω-effect is of secondary importance. Here we use numerical simulations to show that the planetary dynamo scenario may change when the heat flux through the outer boundary is higher in one hemisphere than in the other. A hemispherical dynamo is promoted that is dominated by fierce thermal wind responsible for a strong Ω-effect. As a consequence Parker dynamo waves are excited equivalent to those predicted for the Sun. They obey the same dispersion relation and propagation characteristics. We suggest that Parker waves may therefore also play a role in planetary dynamos for all scenarios where zonal flows become an important part of convective motions.
PACS: 95.30.Qd – Magnetohydrodynamics and plasmas / 96.12.Hg – Magnetic field and magnetism / 91.25.-r – Geomagnetism and paleomagnetism; geoelectricity
© EPLA, 2013