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Title:
Topology of convection beneath the solar surface
Authors:
Stein, R. F.; Nordlund, A.
Affiliation:
AA(Michigan State University, East Lansing), AB(Universitetets Astronomiske Observatorium, Copenhagen, Denmark)
Publication:
Astrophysical Journal, Part 2 - Letters (ISSN 0004-637X), vol. 342, July 15, 1989, p. L95-L98. Research supported by the Carlsbergfondet and Statens Naturvidenskabelige Forskningsrad. (ApJL Homepage)
Publication Date:
07/1989
Category:
Solar Physics
Origin:
STI
NASA/STI Keywords:
Convection, Solar Atmosphere, Solar Granulation, Entropy, Hydrodynamic Equations, Radiant Heating, Surface Layers, Topology, Velocity Distribution
DOI:
10.1086/185493
Bibliographic Code:
1989ApJ...342L..95S

Abstract

It is shown that the topology of convection beneath the solar surface is dominated by effects of stratification. Convection in a strongly stratified medium has: (1) gentle expanding structureless warm upflows and (2) strong converging filamentary cool downdrafts. The horizontal flow topology is cellular, with a hierarchy of cell sizes. The small density scale height in the surface layers forces the formation of the solar granulation, which is a shallow surface phenomenon. Deeper layers support successively larger cells. The downflows of small cells close to the surface merge into filamentary downdrafts of larger cells at greater depths, and this process is likely to continue through most of the convection zone. Radiative cooling at the surface provides the entropy-deficient material which drives the circulation.

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