Kolmogorov versus Iroshnikov-Kraichnan spectra: Consequences for ion heating in the solar wind

C. S. Ng, A. Bhattacharjee, D. Munsi, P. A. Isenberg, C. W. Smith

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Whether the phenomenology governing MHD turbulence is Kolmogorov or Iroshnikov-Kraichnan (IK) remains an open question, theoretically as well as observationally. The ion heating profile observed in the solar wind provides a quantitative, if indirect, observational constraint on the relevant phenomenology. Recently, a solar wind heating model based on Kolmogorov spectral scaling has produced reasonably good agreement with observations, provided the effect of turbulence generation due to pickup ions is included in the model. Without including the pickup ion contributions, the Kolmogorov scaling predicts a proton temperature profile that decays too rapidly beyond a radial distance of 15 AU. In the present study, we alter the heating model by applying an energy cascade rate based on IK scaling and show that the model yields higher proton temperatures, within the range of observations, with or without the inclusion of the effect due to pickup ions. Furthermore, the turbulence correlation length based on IK scaling seems to follow the trend of observations better.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberA02101
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2010
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Geophysics


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