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Nonlinear Processes in Geophysics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 14, issue 4
Nonlin. Processes Geophys., 14, 351–359, 2007
https://doi.org/10.5194/npg-14-351-2007
© Author(s) 2007. This work is licensed under
the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 License.

Special issue: Nonlinear waves and turbulence in space

Nonlin. Processes Geophys., 14, 351–359, 2007
https://doi.org/10.5194/npg-14-351-2007
© Author(s) 2007. This work is licensed under
the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 License.

  06 Jul 2007

06 Jul 2007

Three-dimensional simulations of turbulent spectra in the local interstellar medium

D. Shaikh and G. P. Zank D. Shaikh and G. P. Zank
  • Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics, University of California, Riverside CA 92521, USA

Abstract. Three-dimensional time dependent numerical simulations of compressible magnetohydrodynamic fluids describing super-Alfvénic, supersonic and strongly magnetized space and laboratory plasmas show a nonlinear relaxation towards a state of near incompressibility. The latter is characterized essentially by a subsonic turbulent Mach number. This transition is mediated dynamically by disparate spectral energy dissipation rates in compressible magnetosonic and shear Alfvénic modes. Nonlinear cascades lead to super-Alfvénic turbulent motions decaying to a sub-Alfvénic regime that couples weakly with (magneto)acoustic cascades. Consequently, the supersonic plasma motion is transformed into highly subsonic motion and density fluctuations experience a passive convection. This model provides a self-consistent explaination of the ubiquitous nature of incompressible magnetoplasma fluctuations in the solar wind and the interstellar medium.

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