Articles | Volume 11, issue 5/6
Nonlin. Processes Geophys., 11, 535–543, 2004
https://doi.org/10.5194/npg-11-535-2004

Special issue: Advances in space environment turbulence

Nonlin. Processes Geophys., 11, 535–543, 2004
https://doi.org/10.5194/npg-11-535-2004

  16 Nov 2004

16 Nov 2004

Excitation of kinetic Alfvén turbulence by MHD waves and energization of space plasmas

Y. Voitenko1,* and M. Goossens1 Y. Voitenko and M. Goossens
  • 1Centre for Plasma Astrophysics, K. U. Leuven, Belgium
  • *On leave from: Main Astronomical Observatory, Kyiv, Ukraine

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.