What can we learn from propagating Alfvenic waves?

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Observations have revealed ubiquitous transverse velocity perturbation waves propagating in the solar corona. We perform 3D numerical simulations of footpoint-driven transverse waves propagating in a low beta plasma. When density structuring is present, mode coupling in inhomogeneous regions leads to the coupling of the kink mode to the Alfvén mode. The frequency-dependent decay of the propagating kink wave is observed as energy is transferred to the local Alfvén mode. Modest changes in density are capable of efficiently converting energy from the driving footpoint motion to localised Alfvén modes. Thus, realistic transverse footpoint motions will deposit energy to (azimuthal) Alfvén modes in the corona. Mode coupling is investigated in detail for propagating kink modes as an explanation for the observed wave damping and as a possible seismological tool. The observed strong damping of the Doppler shift oscillations indicates the presence of wide inhomogeneous layers at the edges of the loops. Our simulations (backed up by analytical calculations) show that in this regime, the traditional exp(-z/L) damping rate no longer applies. Hence, care has to be taken when seismologically inferring damping lengths from the observed oscillations. In addition, taking into account line-of-sight integration of multiple loops supporting transverse oscillations, we show that the energy budget present in the 3D coronal volume could be substantially higher than the energy budget derived from the observed Doppler shift oscillations.


  • SDO
  • SDO-4
  • SDO 4
  • SDO Workshop
  • SDO-4/IRIS/Hinode Workshop
  • Solar Dynamic Observatory


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