Turbulent Dynamics in the Solar Convection Zone

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Science  08 Sep 1995:
Vol. 269, Issue 5229, pp. 1370-1379
DOI: 10.1126/science.269.5229.1370


Observations of the sun reveal highly complex flows and magnetic structures that must result from turbulent convection in the solar envelope. A remarkable degree of large-scale coherence emerges from the small-scale turbulent dynamics, as seen in the cycles of magnetic activity and in the differential rotation profile of this star. High-performance computing now permits numerical simulations of compressible turbulence and magnetohydrodynamics with sufficient resolution to show that compact structures of vorticity and magnetic fields can coexist with larger scales. Such structured turbulence is yielding transport properties for heat and angular momentum at considerable variance with earlier models. These simulations are elucidating the coupling of turbulent fluid motions with rotation and magnetic fields, which must control the interlinked differential rotation and magnetic dynamo action.