Contributed Talk - Splinter Magnetic

Thursday, 24 September 2020, 14:49   (virtual room H)

As a matter of tension -- kinetic energy spectra in MHD turbulence

Philipp Grete, Brian O'Shea, Kris Beckwith
Michigan State University

Magnetized turbulence is ubiquitous in many astrophysical and terrestrial systems but no complete, uncontested theory even in the simplest form, magnetohydrodynamics (MHD), exists. Many theories and phenomenologies focus on the joint (kinetic and magnetic) energy fluxes and spectra. We highlight the importance of treating kinetic and magnetic energies separately to shed light on MHD turbulence dynamics. We conduct an implicit large eddy simulation of subsonic, super-Alfvenic MHD turbulence and analyze the scale-wise energy transfer over time. Our key finding is that the kinetic energy spectrum develops a scaling of approximately $k^{-4/3}$ in the stationary regime as the kinetic energy cascade is suppressed by magnetic tension. This motivates a reevaluation of existing MHD turbulence theories with respect to a more differentiated modeling of the energy fluxes.