Sub-ion scale intermittency and the development of filamentary current structures from the Hall effect

Friday, 19 December 2014
Khurom Hussain Kiyani1, Romain Meyrand2, Sandra C Chapman3, Fouad Sahraoui2 and Kareem Osman1, (1)University of Warwick, Coventry, CV4, United Kingdom, (2)Laboratoire de Physique des Plasmas, Saint-Maur Des Foss├ęs Cedex, France, (3)University of Warwick, Coventry, United Kingdom
The distinct quantitative nature of the intermittency seen on fluid and kinetic scales in solar wind plasma turbulence is now well documented from an observational point of view. The classic high-order statistical signature rapidly transitions to a monoscaling signature as one crosses to sub-ion scales. How this scaling depends upon plasma conditions, and the underlying physical implications have yet to be fully explored. We present a study focusing on 28 intervals of solar wind magnetic field data from the Cluster spacecraft sampling a broad range of plasma parameters. We show how the scaling properties vary between these intervals and more importantly, if there are any correlations between the scaling exponents and the plasma parameter variations. We supplement this observational study with a computational investigation where we study spatial samples from an 1024^3 EMHD simulation -- a model for sub-ion scale magnetic field dynamics consisting solely of the Hall effect. From this, we show that the Hall-term can generate a topological change from current sheets at fluid scales to current filaments at sub-ion scales. We conjecture that this fundamental change in the coherent structures comprising the turbulence is also responsible for the change in the intermittency that we see from our observations; and which could also be responsible for dissipation at these scales.