The transition to Earth-like torsional oscillations in magnetoconvection simulations

Teed, R. J. , Jones, C. A. and Tobias, S. M. (2015) The transition to Earth-like torsional oscillations in magnetoconvection simulations. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 419, pp. 22-31. (doi: 10.1016/j.epsl.2015.02.045)

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Evidence for torsional oscillations (TOs) operating within the Earth's fluid outer core has been found in the secular variation of the geomagnetic field. These waves arise via disturbances to the predominant (magnetostrophic) force balance believed to exist in the core. The coupling of the core and mantle allow TOs to affect the length-of-day of the Earth via angular momentum conservation. Encouraged by previous work, where we were able to observe TOs in geodynamo simulations, we perform 3-D magnetoconvection simulations in a spherical shell in order to reach more Earth-like parameter regimes that proved hitherto elusive. At large Ekman numbers we find that TOs can be present but are typically only a small fraction of the overall dynamics and are often driven by Reynolds forcing at various locations throughout the domain. However, as the Ekman number is reduced to more Earth-like values, TOs become more apparent and can make up the dominant portion of the short timescale flow. This coincides with a transition to regimes where excitation is found only at the tangent cylinder, is delivered by the Lorentz force and gives rise to a periodic Earth-like wave pattern, approximately operating on a 4 to 5 year timescale. The core travel times of our waves also become independent of rotation at low Ekman number with many converging to Earth-like values of around 4 years.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Teed, Dr Robert
Authors: Teed, R. J., Jones, C. A., and Tobias, S. M.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Mathematics and Statistics > Mathematics
Journal Name:Earth and Planetary Science Letters
ISSN (Online):1385-013X
Published Online:19 March 2015
First Published:First published in Earth and Planetary Science Letters 419:22-31
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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