Nordita Astrophysics Seminars

Stellar mixing length theory with entropy rain

by Axel Brandenburg (Nordita)

122:026 ()


Stellar mixing length theory is modified to include the effects of a nongradient term that originates from the motion of convective elements with entropy perturbations of either sign. It is argued that such a term, first studied by Deardorff in the meteorological context, represents the effects of thin intense downdrafts caused by the rapid cooling in the granulation layer at the top of the convection zone. They transport heat nonlocally, as originally anticipated by Spruit in the 1990s, who describes the convection in the strongly stratified simulations of Stein & Nordlund as entropy rain. Although our model has ill-determined free parameters, it demonstrates that solutions can be found that look similar to the original ones, except that the deeper layers are now Schwarzschild stable, so no giant cells are produced and the typical convective scale is that of granules even at larger depth. Consequences for modeling solar differential, the global dynamo, and sunspots are briefly discussed.