Simulations of the Kelvin-Helmholtz instability driven by coronal mass ejections in the turbulent corona
Recent high resolution AIA/SDO images show evidence of the development of the Kelvin-Helmholtz instability, as coronal mass ejections (CMEs) expand in the ambient corona. A large-scale magnetic field mostly tangential to the interface is inferred, both on the CME and on the background sides. However, the magnetic field component along the shear flow is not strong enough to quench the instability. There is also observational evidence that the ambient corona is in a turbulent regime, and therefore the criteria for the development of the instability are a-priori expected to differ from the laminar case. To study the evolution of the Kelvin-Helmholtz instability with a turbulent background, we perform three-dimensional simulations of the incompressible magnetohydrodynamic equations. The instability is driven by a velocity profile tangential to the CME-corona interface, which we simulate through a hyperbolic tangent profile. The turbulent background is generated by the application of a stationary stirring force. We compute the instability growth-rate for different values of the turbulence intensity, and find that the role of turbulence is to attenuate the growth. The fact that the Kelvin-Helmholtz instability is observed, sets an upper limit to the correlation length of the coronal background turbulence.
- Pub Date:
- August 2014
- Astrophysics - Solar and Stellar Astrophysics