Nordita Astrophysics Seminars

Mean-field dynamo action from delayed transport

by Dr Matthias Rheinhardt (NORDITA)

122:026 ()


We analyze the nature of dynamo action that produces horizontally averaged magnetic fields in two particular flows that were studied by Roberts (1972, Phil. Trans. R. Soc. A 271, 411), namely flows II and III. Both flows have zero kinetic helicity. Using direct numerical simulations, we determine the onset conditions for dynamo action at moderate values of the magnetic Reynolds number. Using the test-field method, we show that then the turbulent magnetic diffusivity is positive for both flows. However, we demonstrate that for both flows large-scale dynamo action occurs through delayed transport. Mathematically speaking, the magnetic field at earlier times contributes to the electromotive force through the off-diagonal components of the alpha tensor such that a zero mean magnetic field becomes unstable to dynamo action. This represents a qualitatively new mean-field dynamo mechanism not previously described.