Coronal density structure and its role in wave damping in loops

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It has long been established that gradients in the Alfvén speed, and in particular the plasma density, are an essential part of the damping of waves in the magnetically closed solar corona by mechanisms such as resonant absorption and phase mixing. While models of wave damping often assume a fixed density gradient, in this paper the self-consistency of such calculations
is assessed by examining the temporal evolution of the coronal density. It is shown conceptually that for some coronal structures, density gradients can evolve in a way that the wave-damping processes are inhibited. For the case of phase mixing we argue that (a) wave heating cannot sustain the assumed density structure and (b) inclusion of feedback of the heating on the density gradient can lead to a highly structured density, although on long
timescales. In addition, transport coefficients well in excess of classical are required to maintain the observed coronal density. Hence, the heating of closed coronal structures by global oscillations may face problems arising from the assumption of a fixed density gradient, and the rapid damping of oscillations may have to be accompanied by a separate (non-wave-based) heating mechanism to sustain the required density structuring.
Original languageEnglish
Article number31
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
Early online date19 May 2016
Publication statusPublished - 20 May 2016


  • Sun: corona


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