A fast multi-dimensional magnetohydrodynamic formulation of the transition region adaptive conduction (TRAC) method

C. D. Johnston*, A. W. Hood, I. De Moortel, P. Pagano, T. A. Howson

*Corresponding author for this work

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We have demonstrated that the transition region adaptive conduction (TRAC) method permits fast and accurate numerical solutions of the field-aligned hydrodynamic equations, successfully removing the influence of numerical resolution on the coronal density response to impulsive heating. This is achieved by adjusting the parallel thermal conductivity, radiative loss, and heating rates to broaden the transition region (TR), below a global cutoff temperature, so that the steep gradients are spatially resolved even when using coarse numerical grids. Implementing the original 1D formulation of TRAC in multi-dimensional magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) models would require tracing a large number of magnetic field lines at every time step in order to prescribe a global cutoff temperature to each field line. In this paper, we present a highly efficient formulation of the TRAC method for use in multi-dimensional MHD simulations, which does not rely on field line tracing. In the TR, adaptive local cutoff temperatures are used instead of global cutoff temperatures to broaden any unresolved parts of the atmosphere. These local cutoff temperatures are calculated using only local grid cell quantities, enabling the MHD extension of TRAC to efficiently account for the magnetic field evolution, without tracing field lines. Consistent with analytical predictions, we show that this approach successfully preserves the properties of the original TRAC method. In particular, the total radiative losses and heating remain conserved under the MHD formulation. Results from 2D MHD simulations of impulsive heating in unsheared and sheared arcades of coronal loops are also presented. These simulations benchmark the MHD TRAC method against a series of 1D models and demonstrate the versatility and robustness of the method in multi-dimensional magnetic fields. We show, for the first time, that pressure differences, generated during the evaporation phase of impulsive heating events, can produce current layers that are significantly narrower than the transverse energy deposition.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberA2
Number of pages16
JournalAstronomy & Astrophysics
Early online date1 Oct 2021
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021


  • Magnetohydrodynamics (MHD)
  • Sun: transition region
  • Sun: corona
  • Sun: chromosphere
  • Sun: flares hydrodynamics


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