Topology and field strength in spherical, anelastic dynamo simulations
Astronomy and Astrophysics
Numerical modelling of convection driven dynamos in the Boussinesq approximation revealed fundamental characteristics of the dynamo-generated magnetic fields and the fluid flow. Because these results were obtained for an incompressible fluid, their validity for gas planets and stars remains to be assessed. A common approach is to take some density stratification into account with the so-called anelastic approximation. The validity of previous results obtained in the Boussinesq approximation is
... q approximation is tested for anelastic models. We point out and explain specific differences between both types of models, in particular with respect to the field geometry and the field strength, but we also compare scaling laws for the velocity amplitude, the magnetic dissipation time, and the convective heat flux. Our investigation is based on a systematic parameter study of spherical dynamo models in the anelastic approximation. We make use of a recently developed numerical solver and provide results for the test cases of the anelastic dynamo benchmark. The dichotomy of dipolar and multipolar dynamos identified in Boussinesq simulations is also present in our sample of anelastic models. Dipolar models require that the typical length scale of convection is an order of magnitude larger than the Rossby radius. However, the distinction between both classes of models is somewhat less explicit than in previous studies. This is mainly due to two reasons: we found a number of models with a considerable equatorial dipole contribution and an intermediate overall dipole field strength. Furthermore, a large density stratification may hamper the generation of dipole dominated magnetic fields. Previously proposed scaling laws, such as those for the field strength, are similarly applicable to anelastic models. It is not clear, however, if this consistency necessarily implies similar dynamo processes in both settings.