Coronal Heating

Field Lines Twisting in a Noisy Corona

June 2013


We present simulations modeling closed regions of the solar corona threaded by a strong magnetic field where localized photospheric vortical motions twist the coronal field lines. The linear and nonlinear dynamics are investigated in the reduced magnetohydrodynamic regime in Cartesian geometry. Initially the magnetic field lines get twisted and the system becomes unstable to the internal kink mode, confirming and extending previous results. As typical in this kind of investigations, where initial conditions implement smooth fields and flux-tubes, we have neglected fluctuations and the fields are laminar until the instability sets in. However, previous investigations indicate that fluctuations, excited by photospheric motions and coronal dynamics, are naturally present at all scales in the coronal fields. Thus, in order to understand the effect of a photospheric vortex on a more realistic corona, we continue the simulations after kink instability sets in, when turbulent fluctuations have already developed in the corona. In the nonlinear stage the system never returns to the simple initial state with ordered twisted field lines, and kink instability does not occur again. Nevertheless, field lines get twisted, although in a disordered way, and energy accumulates at large scales through an inverse cascade. This energy can subsequently be released in micro-flares or larger flares, when interaction with neighboring structures occurs or via other mechanisms. The impact on coronal dynamics and coronal mass ejections initiation is discussed.

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