Rotational dependence of turbulent transport coefficients in global convective dynamo simulations of solar-like stars

J. Warnecke*, M. J. Käpylä

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
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Context. For moderate and slow rotation, the magnetic activity of solar-like stars is observed to strongly depend on rotation, while for rapid rotation, only a very weak or no dependency is detected. These observations do not yet have a solid explanation in terms of dynamo theory. Aims. We aim to find such an explanation by numerically investigating the rotational dependency of dynamo drivers in solar-like stars, that is, stars that have a convective envelope of similar thickness to that of the Sun. Methods. We ran semi-global convection simulations of stars with rotation rates from 0 to 30 times the solar value, corresponding to Coriolis numbers, Co, of 0 to 110. We measured the turbulent transport coefficients contributing to the magnetic field evolution with the help of the test-field method, and compared with the dynamo effect arising from the differential rotation that is self-consistently generated in the models. Results. The trace of the a tensor increases for moderate rotation rates with Co0.5 and levels off for rapid rotation. This behavior is in agreement with the kinetic a based on the kinetic helicity, if one takes into account the decrease of the convective scale with increasing rotation. The a tensor becomes highly anisotropic for Co and 1. Furthermore, arr dominates for moderate rotation (1 < Co < 10), and aff for rapid rotation (Co ≳ 10). The effective meridional flow, taking into account the turbulent pumping effects, is markedly different from the actual meridional circulation profile. Hence, the turbulent pumping effect is dominating the meridional transport of the magnetic field. Taking all dynamo effects into account, we find three distinct regimes. For slow rotation, the a and Rädler effects are dominating in the presence of anti-solar differential rotation. For moderate rotation, a and ω effects are dominant, indicative of aω or α2ω dynamos in operation, producing equatorward-migrating dynamo waves with a qualitatively solar-like rotation profile. For rapid rotation, an α2 mechanism with an influence from the Rädler effect appears to be the most probable driver of the dynamo. Conclusions. Our study reveals the presence of a large variety of dynamo effects beyond the classical aω mechanism, which need to be investigated further to fully understand the dynamos of solar-like stars. The highly anisotropic a tensor might be the primary reason for the change of axisymmetric to non-axisymmetric dynamo solutions in the moderate rotation regime.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberA66
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalAstronomy and Astrophysics
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2020
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Dynamo
  • Magnetohydrodynamics (MHD)
  • Stars: activity
  • Stars: magnetic field
  • Sun: magnetic fields
  • Turbulence


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