Numerical study of nonlinear forced magnetic reconnection

P. K. Browning, J. Kawaguchi, K. Kusano, G. E. Vekstein

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    Two-dimensional numerical simulations are used to investigate nonlinear aspects of forced magnetic reconnection in a zero β highly conducting plasma. This is representative of the solar corona, where reconnection may be induced by external perturbations, e.g., at the photospheric boundary of the corona. The aim is to investigate the energy dissipation by the reconnection, which may provide a mechanism for heating the coronal plasma. The field is taken to he initially a sheared force-free equilibrium in a slab, and the effects of applying a slow deformation to the boundaries are investigated. Previous analytical studies assuming small departures from the initial equilibrium have found that a current sheet forms during an initial ideal phase of evolution, which subsequently relaxes to a reconnected equilibrium, releasing some magnetic energy. The linear theory predicts that the energy release has a singularity when the field is marginally stable to the tearing mode. The nonlinear evolution of the field is calculated numerically, focusing on the energy release. In particular, the strongly nonlinear behavior is studied in the parameter regime in which the linear theory breaks down. It is found that nonlinearities become strong close to the marginal stability point, and for such highly sheared fields, the energy released by reconnection is large even for weak boundary deformations. © 2001 American Institute of Physics.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)132-138
    Number of pages6
    JournalPhysics of Plasmas
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Jan 2001


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