The Anisotropy of Magnetohydrodynamic Alfvenic Turbulence Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • We perform direct 3-dimensional numerical simulations for magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) turbulence in a periodic box of size $2\pi$ threaded by strong uniform magnetic fields. We use a pseudo-spectral code with hyperviscosity and hyperdiffusivity to solve the incompressible MHD equations. We analyze the structure of the eddies as a function of scale. A straightforward calculation of anisotropy in wavevector space shows that the anisotropy is scale-{\it independent}. We discuss why this is {\it not} the true scaling law and how the curvature of large-scale magnetic fields affects the power spectrum and leads to the wrong conclusion. When we correct for this effect, we find that the anisotropy of eddies depends on their size: smaller eddies are more elongated than larger ones along {\it local} magnetic field lines. The results are consistent with the scaling law $\tilde{k}_{\parallel} \sim \tilde{k}_{\perp}^{2/3}$ proposed by Goldreich and Sridhar (1995, 1997). Here $\tilde{k}_{\|}$ (and $\tilde{k}_{\perp}$) are wavenumbers measured relative to the local magnetic field direction. However, we see some systematic deviations which may be a sign of limitations to the model, or our inability to fully resolve the inertial range of turbulence in our simulations.

publication date

  • August 10, 2000