Excitation of kinetic Alfvén turbulence by MHD waves and energization of space plasmas
Abstract. There is abundant observational evidence that the energization of plasma particles in space is correlated with an enhanced activity of large-scale MHD waves. Since these waves cannot interact with particles, we need to find ways for these MHD waves to transport energy in the dissipation range formed by small-scale or high-frequency waves, which are able to interact with particles. In this paper we consider the dissipation range formed by the kinetic Alfvén waves (KAWs) which are very short- wavelengths across the magnetic field irrespectively of their frequency. We study a nonlocal nonlinear mechanism for the excitation of KAWs by MHD waves via resonant decay AW(FW)→KAW1+KAW2, where the MHD wave can be either an Alfvén wave (AW), or a fast magneto-acoustic wave (FW). The resonant decay thus provides a non-local energy transport from large scales directly in the dissipation range. The decay is efficient at low amplitudes of the magnetic field in the MHD waves, B/B0~10-2. In turn, KAWs are very efficient in the energy exchange with plasma particles, providing plasma heating and acceleration in a variety of space plasmas. An anisotropic energy deposition in the field-aligned degree of freedom for the electrons, and in the cross-field degrees of freedom for the ions, is typical for KAWs. A few relevant examples are discussed concerning nonlinear excitation of KAWs by the MHD wave flux and consequent plasma energization in the solar corona and terrestrial magnetosphere.