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Nonlinear Processes in Geophysics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 16, issue 2
Nonlin. Processes Geophys., 16, 189-196, 2009
https://doi.org/10.5194/npg-16-189-2009
© Author(s) 2009. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Special issue: Coupling between large and small scale turbulence in space...

Nonlin. Processes Geophys., 16, 189-196, 2009
https://doi.org/10.5194/npg-16-189-2009
© Author(s) 2009. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

  12 Mar 2009

12 Mar 2009

Spectral properties of electromagnetic turbulence in plasmas

D. Shaikh1 and P. K. Shukla2,3 D. Shaikh and P. K. Shukla
  • 1Department of Physics and Center for Space Plasma and Aeronomy Research (CSPAR), The University of Alabama in Huntsville, Huntsville, AL-35899, USA
  • 2Institut für Theoretische Physik IV, Fakultät für Physik und Astronomie, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, 44780 Bochum, Germany
  • 3SUPA Department of Physics, The University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Scotland, UK

Abstract. We report on the nonlinear turbulent processes associated with electromagnetic waves in plasmas. We focus on low-frequency (in comparison with the electron gyrofrequency) nonlinearly interacting electron whistlers and nonlinearly interacting Hall-magnetohydrodynamic (H-MHD) fluctuations in a magnetized plasma. Nonlinear whistler mode turbulence study in a magnetized plasma involves incompressible electrons and immobile ions. Two-dimensional turbulent interactions and subsequent energy cascades are critically influenced by the electron whisters that behave distinctly for scales smaller and larger than the electron skin depth. It is found that in whistler mode turbulence there results a dual cascade primarily due to the forward spectral migration of energy that coexists with a backward spectral transfer of mean squared magnetic potential. Finally, inclusion of the ion dynamics, resulting from a two fluid description of the H-MHD plasma, leads to several interesting results that are typically observed in the solar wind plasma. Particularly in the solar wind, the high-time-resolution databases identify a spectral break at the end of the MHD inertial range spectrum that corresponds to a high-frequency regime. In the latter, turbulent cascades cannot be explained by the usual MHD model and a finite frequency effect (in comparison with the ion gyrofrequency) arising from the ion inertia is essentially included to discern the dynamics of the smaller length scales (in comparison with the ion skin depth). This leads to a nonlinear H-MHD model, which is presented in this paper. With the help of our 3-D H-MHD code, we find that the characteristic turbulent interactions in the high-frequency regime evolve typically on kinetic-Alfvén time-scales. The turbulent fluctuation associated with kinetic-Alfvén interactions are compressive and anisotropic and possess equipartition of the kinetic and magnetic energies.

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