67 results for Oughton, Sean, Journal article

  • Selective decay and coherent vortices in two-dimensional incompressible turbulence

    Matthaeus, William H.; Stribling, W.; Martinez, Daniel; Oughton, Sean; Montgomery, David (1991)

    Journal article
    University of Waikato

    Numerical solution of two-dimensional incompressible hydrodynamics shows that states of a near-minimal ratio of enstrophy to energy can be attained in times short compared with the flow decay time, confirming the simplest turbulent selective decay conjecture, and suggesting that coherent vortex structures do not terminate nonlinear processes. After all possible vortex mergers occur, the vorticity attains a particlelike character, suggested by the late-time similarity of the streamlines to Ewald potential contours.

    View record details
  • The influence of a mean magnetic field on three-dimensional magnetohydrodynamic turbulence

    Oughton, Sean; Priest, Eric R.; Matthaeus, William H. (1994)

    Journal article
    University of Waikato

    Building on results from two-dimensional magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) turbulence (Shebalin, Matthaeus & Montgomery 1983), the development of anisotropic states from initially isotropic ones is investigated numerically for fully three-dimensional incompressible MHD turbulence. It is found that when an external d.c. magnetic field (B₀) is imposed on viscous and resistive MHD systems, excitations are preferentially transferred to modes with wavevectors perpendicular to B₀). The anisotropy increases with increasing mechanical and magnetic Reynolds numbers, and also with increasing wavenumber. The tendency of B₀ to inhibit development of turbulence is also examined.

    View record details
  • Magnetic helicity in magnetohydrodynamic turbulence with a mean magnetic field

    Stribling, Troy; Matthaeus, William H.; Oughton, Sean (1995)

    Journal article
    University of Waikato

    A computational investigation of magnetic helicity of the fluctuatingmagnetic fieldHm in ideal and freely decaying three‐dimensional (3‐D) magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) in the presence of a uniform mean magnetic field is performed. It is shown that for ideal 3‐D MHDHm, which is a rugged invariant in the absence of a mean magnetic field [Frisch et al., J. Fluid Mech. 77, 796 (1975)], decays from its initial value and proceeds to oscillate about zero. The decay of Hm is shown to result from the presence of a new ‘‘generalized’’ helicity invariant, which includes contributions from the uniform magnetic field. The loss of invariance of Hm will diminish the effects of inverse transfer of Hm on freely decaying turbulence. This is demonstrated in a discussion of the selective decay relaxation process.

    View record details
  • Evolution of energy-containing turbulent eddies in the solar wind

    Matthaeus, William H.; Oughton, Sean; Pontius, Duane H.; Zhou, Ye (1994)

    Journal article
    University of Waikato

    Previous theoretical treatments of fluid-scale turbulence in the solar wind have concentrated on describing the state and dynamical evolution of fluctuations in the inertial range, which are characterized by power law energy spectra. In the present paper a model for the evolution of somewhat larger, more energetic magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) fluctuations is developed by analogy with classical hydrodynamic turbulence in the quasi-equilibrium range. The model is constructed by assembling and extending existing phenomenologies of homogeneous MHD turbulence, as well as simple two-length-scale models for transport of MHD turbulence in a weakly inhomogeneous medium. A set of equations is presented for the evolution of the turbulence, including the transport and nonlinear evolution of magnetic and kinetic energy, cross helicity, and their correlation scales. Two versions of the model are derived, depending on whether the fluctuations are distributed isotropically in three dimensions or restricted to the two-dimensional plane perpendicular to the mean magnetic field. This model includes a number of potentially important physical effects that have been neglected in previous discussions of transport of solar wind turbulence. Numerical solutions are shown for several cases of interest that demonstrate the advantages of this approach. We suggest that this model may prove useful in studies of solar wind heating and acceleration, as well as in describing the response of interplanetary turbulence to wave energy injected by pickup ions and planetary upstream waves.

    View record details
  • Properties of mass-loading shocks, 2. Magnetohydrodynamics

    Zank, Gary P.; Oughton, Sean; Neubauer, F. M.; Webb, G. M. (1992)

    Journal article
    University of Waikato

    The one-dimensional magnetohydrodynamics of shocked flows subjected to significant mass loading are considered. Recent observations at comets Giacobini-Zinner and Halley suggest that simple nonreacting MHD is an inappropriate description for active cometary bow shocks. The thickness of the observed cometary shock implies that mass loading represents an important dynamical process within the shock itself, thereby requiring that the Rankine-Hugoniot condition for the mass flux possess a source term. In a formal sense, this renders mass-loading shocks qualitatively similar to combustion shocks, except that mass loading induces the shocked flow to shear. Nevertheless, a large class of stable shocks exist, identified by means of the Lax conditions appropriate to MHD. Thus mass-loading shocks represent a new and interesting class of shocks, which, although found frequently in the solar system, both at the head of comets and, under suitable conditions, upsteam of weakly magnetized and nonmagnetized planets, has not been discussed in any detail. Owing to the shearing of the flow, mass-loading shocks can behave like switch-on shocks regardless of the magnitude of the plasma beta. Thus the behavior of the magnetic field in mass-loading shocks is significantly different from that occurring in nonreacting classical MHD shocks. It is demonstrated that there exist two types of mass-loading fronts for which no classical MHD analogue exists, these being the fast and slow compound mass-loading shocks. These shocks are characterized by an initial deceleration of the fluid flow to either the fast or the slow magnetosonic speed followed by an isentropic expansion to the final decelerated downstream state. Thus these transitions take the flow from a supersonic to a supersonic, although decelerated, downstream state, unlike shocks which occur in classical MHD or gasdynamics. It is possible that such structures have been observed during the Giotto-Halley encounter, and a brief discussion of the appropriate Halley parameters is therefore given, together with a short discussion of the determination of the shock normal from observations. A further interesting new form of mass-loading shock is the “slow-intermediate” shock, a stable shock which possesses many of the properties of intermediate MHD shocks yet which propagates like a slow mode MHD shock. An important property of mass-loading shocks is the large parameter regime (compared with classical MHD) which does not admit simple or stable transitions from a given upstream to a downstream state. This suggests that it is often necessary to construct compound structures consisting of shocks, slip waves, rarefactions, and fast and slow compound waves in order to connect given upstream and downstream states. Thus the Riemann problem is significantly different from that of classical MHD.

    View record details
  • Reply to “Comment on ‘Evolution of energy-containing turbulent eddies in the solar wind’ by W. H. Matthaeus, S. Oughton, D. H. Pontius Jr., and Y. Zhou”

    Matthaeus, William H.; Oughton, Sean; Pontius, Duane H.; Zhou, Ye (1995)

    Journal article
    University of Waikato

    In their preceding comment on our paper [Matthaeus et al., 1994] (hereinafter reffered to as paper 1), Tu and Marsh [this issue] object vehemently to what they perceive as undeserved criticism of the class of solar wind turbulence models developed by Tu and coworkers[Tu et al., 1984, Tu, 1987, 1988]. Our intent was not to slight the valuable contributions made in those groundbreaking theories for incorporating turbulence into models for spatial transport. Rather, we wished to point out certain shortcomings in existing theories and suggest how they might be improved.

    View record details
  • Phenomenology for the decay of energy-containing eddies in homogeneous MHD turbulence

    Hossain, Murshed; Gray, Perry C.; Pontius, Duane H.; Matthaeus, William H.; Oughton, Sean (1995)

    Journal article
    University of Waikato

    We evaluate a number of simple, one‐point phenomenological models for the decay of energy‐containing eddies in magnetohydrodynamic(MHD) and hydrodynamicturbulence. The MHDmodels include effects of cross helicity and Alfvénic couplings associated with a constant mean magnetic field, based on physical effects well‐described in the literature. The analytic structure of three separate MHDmodels is discussed. The single hydrodynamic model and several MHDmodels are compared against results from spectral‐method simulations. The hydrodynamic model phenomenology has been previously verified against experiments in wind tunnels, and certain experimentally determined parameters in the model are satisfactorily reproduced by the present simulation. This agreement supports the suitability of our numerical calculations for examining MHDturbulence, where practical difficulties make it more difficult to study physical examples. When the triple‐decorrelation time and effects of spectral anisotropy are properly taken into account, particular MHDmodels give decay rates that remain correct to within a factor of 2 for several energy‐halving times. A simple model of this type is likely to be useful in a number of applications in space physics, astrophysics, and laboratory plasma physics where the approximate effects of turbulence need to be included.

    View record details
  • Linear transport of solar wind fluctuations

    Oughton, Sean; Matthaeus, William H. (1995)

    Journal article
    University of Waikato

    Numerical solutions for the linear transport of solar wind fluctuations are presented. The model used takes into account the effects of advection, expansion, and wave propagation, as well as the recently illuminated effects of (non-WKB) “mixing” terms. The radial evolution of the fluctuating kinetic and magnetic energies and of the cross helicity is computed, and it is demonstrated that in appropriate limits the solutions converge to the WKB forms. In more general cases, however, where the fluctuations consist of a superposition of various types of turbulence, mixing leads to solutions which differ substantially from those predicted by WKB theory. The degree of mixing shows considerable dependence on the nature of the turbulence, giving rise to varying levels, at 1 ∼ AU, of the ratio of “inward” and “outward” fluctuation energies and the ratio of kinetic and magnetic fluctuation energies. The transport properties described here may provide a partial explanation for the observed decrease of cross helicity with increasing heliocentric distance in the solar wind.

    View record details
  • Phenomenology of hydromagnetic turbulence in a uniformly expanding medium

    Matthaeus, William H.; Zank, Gary P.; Oughton, Sean (1996)

    Journal article
    University of Waikato

    A simple phenomenology is developed for the decay and transport of turbulence in a constant-speed, uniformly expanding medium. The fluctuations are assumed to be locally incompressible, and either of the hydrodynamic or non-Alfvénic magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) type. In order to represent local effects of nonlinearities, a simple model of the Kaármá-Dryden type for locally homogeneous turbulent decay is adopted. A detailed discussion of the parameters of this familiar one-point hydrodynamic closure is given, which has been shown recently to be applicable to non-Alfvénic MHD as well. The effects of the large-scale flow and expansion are incorporated using a two-scale approach, in which assumptions of particular turbulence symmetries provide simplifications. The derived model is tractable and provides a basis for understanding turbulence in the outer heliosphere, as well as in other astrophysical applications.

    View record details
  • Ion parallel viscosity and anisotropy in MHD turbulence

    Oughton, Sean (1996)

    Journal article
    University of Waikato

    We report on results from direct numerical simulation of the incompressible three- dimensional magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) equations, modified to incorporate viscous dissipation via the strongly anisotropic ion-parallel viscosity term. Both linear and nonlinear cases are considered, all with a strong background magnetic field. It is found that spectral anisotropy develops in almost all cases, but that the contribution from effects associated with the ion-parallel viscosity is relatively weak compared with the previously reported nonlinear process. Furthermore, and in contrast to this earlier work, it is suggested that when B₀ is large, the anisotropy will develop and persist for many large-scale turnover times even for non-dissipative runs. Resistive dissipation is found to dominate over viscous even when the resistivity is several orders of magnitude smaller than the ion parallel viscosity. A variance anisotropy effect and anisotropy dependence on the polarization of the fluctuations are also observed.

    View record details
  • Mass-loading and parallel magnetized shocks

    Zank, Gary P.; Oughton, Sean; Neubauer, F. M.; Webb, G. M. (1991)

    Journal article
    University of Waikato

    Recent observations at comets Giacobini-Zinner and Halley suggest that simple non-reacting gas dynamics or MHD is an inappropriate description for the bow shock. The thickness of the observed (sub)shock implies that mass-loading is an important dynamical process within the shock itself, thereby requiring that the Rankine-Hugoniot conditions possess source terms. This leads to shocks with properties similar to those of combustion shocks. We consider parallel magnetized shocks subjected to mass-loading, describe some properties which distinguish them from classical MHD parallel shocks, and establish the existence of a new kind of MHD compound shock. These results will be of importance both to observations and numerical simulations of the comet-solar wind interaction.

    View record details
  • Properties of mass-loading shocks: 1. Hydrodynamic considerations

    Zank, Gary P.; Oughton, Sean (1991)

    Journal article
    University of Waikato

    The one-dimensional hydrodynamics of flows subjected to mass loading are considered anew, with particular emphasis placed on determining the properties of mass-loading shocks. This work has been motivated by recent observations of the outbound Halley bow shock (Neubauer et al., 1990), which cannot be understood in terms of simple hydrodynamical or magnetohydrodynamical descriptions. By including mass injection at the shock, we have investigated the properties of the Rankine-Hugoniot conditions on the basis of a geometric formulation of the entropy condition. Such a condition, which is more powerful than the usual thermodynamical formulation, serves to determine those solutions to the Rankine-Hugoniot conditions which correspond to a physically realizable downstream state. On this basis a concise theoretical description of hydrodynamic mass-loading shocks is obtained. We show that mass-loading shocks have more in common with combustion shocks than with ordinary nonreacting gas dynamical shocks. It is shown that for decelerated solutions to the Rankine-Hugoniot conditions to exist, the upstream flow speed u0 must satisfy u0 > ucrit > cs, where cs is the sound speed. Besides the usual supersonic-subsonic transition, mass-loading fronts can also admit a decelerating supersonic-supersonic transition, the structure of which consists of a sharp decrease in the flow velocity preceding a recovery and an increase in the final downstream flow speed. We suggest the possibility that such structures may describe the inbound Halley bow shock (Coates et al., 1987a). Both parallel and oblique shocks are considered, the primary difference being that oblique shocks are subjected to a shearing stress due to mass loading. It is conjectured that such a shearing may destabilize the shock.

    View record details
  • Transport theory and the WKB approximation for interplanetary MHD fluctuations

    Matthaeus, William H.; Zhou, Ye; Zank, Gary P.; Oughton, Sean (1994)

    Journal article
    University of Waikato

    An alternative approach, based on a multiple scale analysis, is presented in order to reconcile the traditional WKB approach to the modeling of interplanetary fluctuations in a mildly inhomogeneous large-scale flow with a more recently developed transport theory. This enables us to compare directly, at a formal level, the inherent structure of the two models. In the case of noninteracting, incompressible (Alfvén) waves, the principle difference between the two models is the presence of leading-order couplings (called “mixing effects”) in the non-WKB turbulence model which are absent in a WKB development. Within the context of linearized MHD, two cases have been identified for which the leading order non-WKB “mixing term” does not vanish at zero wavelength. For these cases the WKB expansion is divergent, whereas the multiple-scale theory is well behaved. We have thus established that the WKB results are contained within the multiple-scale theory, but leading order mixing effects, which are likely to have important observational consequences, can never be recovered in the WKB style expansion. Properties of the higher-order terms in each expansion are also discussed, leading to the conclusion that the non-WKB hierarchy may be applicable even when the scale separation parameter is not small.

    View record details
  • Anisotropic three-dimensional MHD turbulence

    Matthaeus, William H.; Ghosh, Sanjoy; Oughton, Sean; Roberts, D. Aaron (1996)

    Journal article
    University of Waikato

    Direct spectral method simulation of the three-dimensional magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) equations is used to explore anisotropy that develops from initially isotropic fluctuations as a consequence of a uniform applied magnetic field. Spectral and variance anisotropies are investigated in both compressible and incompressible MHD. The nature of the spectral anisotropy is consistent with the model of Shebalin et al. [1983] in which the spectrum broadens in the perpendicular wavenumber direction, the anisotropy being greater for smaller wavenumbers. Here this effect is seen for both incompressible and polytropic compressible MHD. In contrast, the longitudinal (compressive) velocity fluctuations remain isotropic. Variance anisotropy is observed for low plasma beta compressible MHD but not for incompressible MHD. Solar wind observations are qualitatively consistent with both variance and spectral anisotropies of the type discussed here.

    View record details
  • Solar wind fluctuations: waves and turbulence

    Oughton, Sean (2003)

    Journal article
    University of Waikato

    We present a brief review of observations and theory regarding the nature and radial evolution of MHD‐scale solar wind fluctuations. Emphasis is placed on the fact that the fluctuations consist of both waves and turbulence, and on their dual dynamical roles.

    View record details
  • Generation of X-points and secondary islands in 2D magnetohydrodynamic turbulence

    Wan, Minping; Matthaeus, William H.; Servidio, Sergio; Oughton, Sean (2013)

    Journal article
    University of Waikato

    We study the time development of the population of X-type critical points in a two-dimensional magnetohydrodynamic model during the early stages of freely decaying turbulence. At sufficiently high magnetic Reynolds number Rem, we find that the number of neutral points increases as Rem3/2, while the rates of reconnection at the most active sites decrease. The distribution of rates remains approximately exponential. We focus in particular on delicate issues of accuracy, which arise in these numerical experiments, in that the proliferation of X-points is also a feature of under-resolved simulations. The “splitting” of neutral points at high Reynolds number appears to be a fundamental feature of the cascade that has important implications for understanding the relationship between reconnection and turbulence, an issue of considerable importance for the Magnetospheric Multiscale and Solar Probe missions as well as observation of reconnection in the solar wind.

    View record details
  • Current singularities at finitely compressible three-dimensional magnetic null points

    Dmitruk, Pablo; Matthaeus, William H.; Oughton, Sean (2005-07-15)

    Journal article
    University of Waikato

    The formation of current singularities at line-tied two- and three-dimensional (2D and 3D, respectively) magnetic null points in a nonresistive magnetohydrodynamic environment is explored. It is shown that, despite the different separatrix structures of 2D and 3D null points, current singularities may be initiated in a formally equivalent manner. This is true no matter whether the collapse is triggered by flux imbalance within closed, line-tied null points or driven by externally imposed velocity fields in open, incompressible geometries. A Lagrangian numerical code is used to investigate the finite amplitude perturbations that lead to singular current sheets in collapsing 2D and 3D null points. The form of the singular current distribution is analyzed as a function of the spatial anisotropy of the null point, and the effects of finite gas pressure are quantified. It is pointed out that the pressure force, while never stopping the formation of the singularity, significantly alters the morphology of the current distribution as well as dramatically weakening its strength. The impact of these findings on 2D and 3D magnetic reconnection models is discussed.

    View record details
  • The impact of small-scale turbulence on laminar magnetic reconnection

    Watson, P.G.; Oughton, Sean; Craig, Ian J.D. (2007-03)

    Journal article
    University of Waikato

    Initial states in incompressible two-dimensional magnetohydrodynamics that are known to lead to strong current sheets and (laminar) magnetic reconnection are modified by the addition of small-scale turbulent perturbations of various energies. The evolution of these states is computed with the aim of ascertaining the influence of the turbulence on the underlying laminar solution. Two main questions are addressed here: (1) What effect does small-scale turbulence have on the energy dissipation rate of the underlying solution? (2) What is the threshold turbulent perturbation level above which the original laminar reconnective dynamics is no longer recognizable. The simulations show that while the laminar dynamics persist the dissipation rates are largely unaffected by the turbulence, other than modest increases attributable to the additional small length scales present in the new initial condition. The solutions themselves are also remarkably insensitive to small-scale turbulent perturbations unless the perturbations are large enough to undermine the integrity of the underlying cellular flow pattern. Indeed, even initial states that lead to the evolution of small-scale microscopic sheets can survive the addition of modest turbulence. The role of a large-scale organizing background magnetic field is also addressed.

    View record details
  • Solar wind fluctuations and the von Kármán–Howarth equations: The role of fourth-order correlations

    Oughton, Sean; Wan, Minping; Matthaeus, William H.; Servidio, Sergio (2013)

    Journal article
    University of Waikato

    The von Kármán-Howarth (vKH) hierarchy of equations relate the second-order correlations of the turbulent fluctuations to the third-order ones, the third-order to the fourth-order, and so on. We recently demonstrated [1] that for MHD, self-similar solutions to the vKH equations seem to require at least two independent similarity lengthscales (one for each Elsässer energy), so that compared to hydrodynamics a richer set of behaviors seems likely to ensue. Moreover, despite the well-known anisotropy of MHD turbulence with a mean magnetic field (B₀), the equation for the second-order correlation does not contain explicit dependence on B₀. We show that there is, however, implicit dependence on B₀ via the third-order correlations, which themselves have both explicit B₀-dependence and also their own implicit dependence through fourth-order correlations. Some subtleties and consequences of this implicit-explicit balance are summarized here. In addition, we present an analysis of simulation results showing that the evolution of turbulence can depend strongly on the initial fourth-order correlations of the system. This leads to considerable variation in the energy dissipation rates. Some associated consequences for MHD turbulence are discussed.

    View record details
  • Energy dynamics in linear MHD with ion parallel viscosity

    Oughton, Sean (1997)

    Journal article
    University of Waikato

    Analytic results for the time dependences of the kinetic and magnetic energies of an incompressible magneto fluid threaded by a strong uniform magnetic field B₀ are obtained. The governing equations are the linearised magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) ones, but with the conventional Laplacian dissipation replaced by ion parallel viscous effects. The behaviour is shown to depend on the relative sizes of the Alfvén frequency and the viscous and resistive dissipation rates. For many cases equipartition of the kinetic and magnetic energy holds at the (Fourier) modal level. An important exception to this behaviour occurs for two-dimensional fluctuations, that is when the wavevectors are perpendicular to B₀.

    View record details