A Multiscale Dynamo Model Driven by Quasi-geostrophic Convection

Thursday, 17 December 2015
Poster Hall (Moscone South)
Michael A Calkins, University of Colorado, Boulder, Boulder, CO, United States, Keith A Julien, Univ of Colorado--Boulder, Applied Mathematics, Boulder, CO, United States, Jonathan M Aurnou, University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA, United States, Steven Tobias, University of Leeds, Leeds, United Kingdom and Philippe Marti, University of Colorado -- Boulder, Boulder, CO, United States
A geostrophically balanced, convection-driven multiscale dynamo model is developed for the plane layer geometry. The small-scale fluctuating dynamics are described by a magnetically-modified quasi-geostrophic equation set, and the large-scale mean dynamics are governed by a diagnostic thermal wind balance. The model utilizes three timescales that respectively characterize the convective timescale, the large-scale magnetic evolution timescale, and the large-scale thermal evolution timescale. Distinct equations are derived for the cases of order one and low magnetic Prandtl number. It is shown that the low magnetic Prandtl number model is characterized by a magnetic to kinetic energy ratio that is asymptotically large, with ohmic dissipation dominating viscous dissipation on the large-scales. For the order one magnetic Prandtl number model the magnetic and kinetic energies are equipartitioned and both ohmic and viscous dissipation are weak on the large-scales; large-scale ohmic dissipation occurs in thin magnetic boundary layers adjacent to the horizontal boundaries. The new models provide a new theoretical framework for understanding the dynamics of convection-driven dynamos in regimes that are only just becoming accessible to direct numerical simulations.