Solar Wind Magnetic Field Turbulence at Ion Kinetic Scales Measured by Cluster Using k-filtering Technique

Friday, 19 December 2014
Xing Li1, Owen Wyn Roberts1, Lauren Jeska2, Bo Li3 and Quanming Lu4, (1)Aberystwyth University, Aberystwyth, SY23, United Kingdom, (2)Aberystwyth University, Aberystwyth, United Kingdom, (3)Shandong University at Weihai, Weihai, China, (4)USTC University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei, China
The nature of turbulence at kinetic scales is important since turbulence energy is believed to dissipate as heat at these scales. Here we report our several work on the solar wind turbulence at ion kinetic scales using the k-filtering technique.

We found evidence of ion cyclotron resonance in solar wind intervals. In the wave vector space, in addition to the commonly observed population of magnetic field fluctuations propagating at quasi-perpendicular angles to the global mean field B0, a population propagating at quasi-parallel angles are also observed with no local plasma instabilities identified. At low wavenumbers (kv_A/Omega_p <= 0.6 ) both components are present, and have similar powers, while at higher wavenumbers (kv_A/\Omega_p> 0.6) only the perpendicular component can be identified.

A statistical study of 52 intervals of solar wind finds that the turbulence is predominantly highly oblique to the magnetic field with perpendicular wavenumbers much greater than parallel wavenumbers, and propagates slowly in the plasma frame with most points having frequencies smaller than the proton gyrofrequency. Weak agreement is found that turbulence at the ion kinetic scales consists of kinetic Alfven waves and coherent structures advected with plasma bulk velocity plus some minor more compressible components. The results suggest that anti-sunward and sunward propagating magnetic fluctuations have similar nature in both the fast and slow solar wind. The fast wind was shown to have significantly more anti-sunward flux than sunward flux and the slow wind appears to be more balanced at ion kinetic scales.

The fluctuated magnetic field and magnitude of the magnetic field are used to compute the power of incompressible and compressible turbulence for the fast solar wind. It is found that Taylor's frozen-in hypothesis may break down for compressible turbulence at the ion kinetic scales, suggesting that whistler waves may contribute to the compressible turbulence on the scales. The power of compressible turbulence peaks at approximately the same location in the wave number space as that of the incompressible turbulence at each sampling frequency. This indicates that the compressible plasma turbulence may be passively cascaded to ion scales by the Alfvenic incompressible turbulence.