Babcock-Leighton Solar Dynamo: The Role of Downward Pumping and the Equatorward Propagation of Activity

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Monday, October 10, 2016

The key elements of the Babcock-Leighton dynamos are the generation of poloidal field through decay and dispersal of tilted bipolar active regions and the generation of toroidal field through the observed differential rotation. These models are traditionally known as flux transport dynamo models as the equatorward propagations of the butterfly wings in these models are produced due to an equatorward flow at the bottom of the convection zone.

Karak image
(a): Rotational frequencies of Sun (in nHz) as obtained from helioseismic data combined with the analytical profile for higher latitudes. (b): comparison of helioseismic data (solid lines) and our composite (dashed) pro- file at 0 (red), 15, 30 (pink), 45, 60, 75 (green) and 90 degree latitudes.

Here we investigate the role of downward magnetic pumping near the surface using a kinematic Babcock-Leighton model. We find that the pumping causes the poloidal field to become predominately radial in the near-surface shear layer, which allows the negative radial shear to effectively act on the radial field to produce a toroidal field. We observe a clear equatorward migration of the toroidal field at low latitudes as a consequence of the dynamo wave even when there is no meridional flow in the deep convection zone. Both the dynamo wave and the flux transport type solutions are thus able to reproduce some of the observed features of the solar cycle, including the 11-year periodicity. The main difference between the two types of solutions is the strength of the Babcock-Leighton source required to produce the dynamo action. A second consequence of the magnetic pumping is that it suppresses the diffusion of fields through the surface, which helps to allow an 11-year cycle at (moderately) larger values of magnetic diffusivity than have previously been used.