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Incorporating Magnetogram Data into Time-Dependent Coronal Field Models.
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Abstract: We briefly review our efforts to incorporate sequences of photospheric vector magnetograms into MHD simulations of coronal evolution, in an effort to create data-driven models of the coronal magnetic field. Such models should improve our understanding of flares and coronal mass ejections (CMEs), and might eventually lead to predictive capabilities.
By George Fisher, Bill Abbett, Dave Bercik,
Jim McTiernan, and Brian Welsch
Space Sciences Laboratory,
University of California, Berkeley
Free magnetic energy stored in electric currents JC in the coronal magnetic field is thought to drive flares & CMEs.
Measurements of the (vector) coronal field BC , however, are rare & subject to large uncertainties.
Effectively, coronal electric currents cannot be directly measured.
Hence, current forecast methods statistically relate other data (e.g., aspects of the photospheric magnetic field BP) to flares/ CMEs.
In his review article, “Driving major solar flares and eruptions”, Schrijver (2009) notes:
“Whether deterministic forecasting is in principle possible remains to be seen: to date no reliable such forecasts can be made.”
What capabilities must be developed before
deterministic predictions can be made?
An observational signature of imminent eruption could be discovered.
But observers have searched long and hard for such a signature, without success.
(ii) A time-dependent model of coronal magnetic field that incorporates data could be used to identify magnetic structures prone to flares/ CMEs.
Here, we review our efforts to develop such a model.
Data-driven coronal models must first be used for interpretation before we can make predictions!
- Force-free field: JCx BC = 0; current JC is parallel to BC
- Non-linear Force-free field: α varies in space
- Potential field: α = 0, JC = 0; also called “current-free”
Since free energy emerges with active region fields (Leka et al. 1996), a realistic initial state will, in general, include currents: |JC( x, y, z; t0)|≠ 0.
29 Oct. 2003, 18:46 UT
Ideally, the magnetogram would be recorded in a force-free layer of the solar atmosphere.
The solar photosphere is generally not force-free, so extrapolations from the “forced” BP might not represent BC accurately.
(The chromospheric magnetogram shown here is approximately force-free.)
IVM data from T. Metcalf
AR 10486, 29 Oct. 2003
This image shows field lines from the extrapolated potential field.
The input magnetogram need not be flux balanced, but no current flows on flux that leaves the box.
Note that these field lines do not appear sheared --- they cross polarity inversion lines (PILs) at nearly right angles --- cf., the next figure!
The brighter field lines have stronger Bz at the surface.
This image shows field lines from the extrapolated NLFFF.
Some field lines here do appear sheared --- they do cross PILs at acute angles, and in some cases run nearly parallel to them.
Note the helical character of some field lines.
AR 10486, 29 Oct. 2003
A divergence-free (solenoidal) vector field can be decomposed via
where the overdot represents the partial time derivative. From (8), three scalar potentials can be derived:
When solving these Poisson equations, care must be taken with boundary conditions! See Fisher et al. (“nearly submitted”).
To derive (13), we have “uncurled” (12), and consequently had to introduce the (unknown) gradient of a scalar potential ψ.
Since the electric field arising from ψ is derived from a gradient, it has no curl, and magnetic evolution does not directly constrain ψ – other information must be used!
Modeling the photosphere to corona is challenging:
time scales are rapid; length scales are short; radiative transfer plays a key role; temperature & density are highly stratified.
Computational limitations preclude faithful modeling of all of these processes on active region length scales.
Guiding question:What is the simplest algorithm that reasonably approximates the physics of these complex atmospheric layers over a large spatial domain?
Red --- treated explicitly
Blue --- treated implicitly
Purple --- combination of both
Goal: To obtain physically meaningful results by solving the MHD conservation equations on a discretized mesh.
In Abbett (2007) we developed a semi-implicit MHD model, RADMHD, that advances the explicit portion of the MHD system (shown above) by means of a third order-accurate CWENO shock capture scheme, and solves the implicit portion of the system via a JFNK technique.
First, define the physical contribution to the force as defined by the MHD momentum conservation equation:
Further, define the forces implied by the data:
Then in a single horizontal layer corresponding to the model’s photosphere, we recast the MHD momentum equation in the following form:
where the parallel and perpendicular subscripts denote the forces parallel or perpendicular to the direction of the magnetic field.
t = 0 s
t = 741.6 s
t = 0 s
t = 741.6 s
We have developed and implemented a computationally efficient method of approximating optically thick radiative cooling in our RADMHD quiet Sun models. The treatment improves upon the ad hoc method presented in Abbett (2007), while still retaining the efficiency necessary to allow for large, active region-scale, convection zone-to-corona computational domains.
The simulations presented here are preliminary. Time will tell whether the new RT treatment is robust, and whether it can maintain the average superadiabatic stratification necessary to sustain solar-like convective turbulence over the long timescales necessary to study the physics of the convective dynamo. However, the initial results are encouraging, and the simulations continue to progress.
1. We are continuing to develop our techniques for determining an initial state for the coronal magnetic field BC(x,y,z; t).
2. We are investigating innovative methods to specify an electric field, E(x,y,0;t), from the evolution of the photospheric field BP(x,y,z; t), which can be used to drive the coronal model forward in time.
3. We have also developed a rudimentary means of assimilating a time series of vector magnetograms into the active zones of an MHD model in a manner that is stable, and does not over-specify the problem.
This ongoing work is supported by NASA, through its Heliophysics Theory and Living With a Star TR&T programs, and the National Science Foundation, though its ATM, SHINE, and National Space Weather programs. Many of the simulations presented here were performed on NASA’s NCCS Discover supercomputer.
Brian Welsch pressured George Fisher into presenting this poster against George’s will; Brian is also responsible for any inaccurate, objectionable, or cheesy content.