Modeling imbalanced Alfvén-wave turbulence from MHD to electron scales

Pierre-Louis Sulem
Université Cote d’Azur, Observatoire de la Cote d’Azur, CNRS, Laboratoire J.L. Lagrange, Boulevard de l’Observatoire, CS 34229, 06304 Nice Cedex 4, France

After discussing some open problems concerning Alfvén and kinetic Alfvén wave turbulence in the solar wind, and the transition between these two regimes, we introduce a two-field reduced gyrofluid model which includes ion finite Larmor radius corrections, parallel magnetic fluctuations and electron inertia, and thus covers a spectral range extending from MHD to electron scales [1]. The model reproduces the usual phenomenology of balanced turbulence in the regimes of dispersive, kinetic and inertial Alfvén waves and provides, as suggested by preliminary direct numerical simulations, an efficient tool to address the sub-ion dynamics in the imbalanced regime. Furthermore, starting from the kinetic equations of weak turbulence, a nonlinear diffusion model retaining only strongly local interactions is derived and phenomenologically extended to strong turbulence by a suitable modification of the transfer time which, in the case of balanced turbulence, is consistent with critical balance [2]. The associated scale anisotropy turns out to be affected by the degree of imbalance. In this framework, Landau damping is modeled using the dissipation rate given by the linear kinetic theory, with a modification of the transfer time taking into account the effect of temperature homogenization along the magnetic field lines. Extension of the gyro-fluid model including coupling to slow magnetosonic waves and thus permitting the decay instability will be briefly discussed.

[1] T. Passot, P.L. Sulem and E. Tassi, Gyrofluid modeling and phenomenology of low βe Alfvén wave turbulence, Phys. Plasmas, 25, 042107, 2018.

[2] T. Passot and P.L. Sulem, Imbalanced kinetic Alfvén wave turbulence: from weak turbulence theory to nonlinear diffusion models for the strong regime, J. Plasma Phys., in press.