Articles | Volume 14, issue 5
Nonlin. Processes Geophys., 14, 557–568, 2007
https://doi.org/10.5194/npg-14-557-2007

Special issue: Nonlinear waves and turbulence in space

Nonlin. Processes Geophys., 14, 557–568, 2007
https://doi.org/10.5194/npg-14-557-2007

  03 Sep 2007

03 Sep 2007

On MHD waves, fire-hose and mirror instabilities in anisotropic plasmas

L.-N. Hau and B.-J. Wang L.-N. Hau and B.-J. Wang
  • Institute of Space Science, National Central University, Jhongli, Taiwan, R.O.C.

Abstract. Temperature or pressure anisotropies are characteristic of space plasmas, standard magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) model for describing large-scale plasma phenomena however usually assumes isotropic pressure. In this paper we examine the characteristics of MHD waves, fire-hose and mirror instabilities in anisotropic homogeneous magnetized plasmas. The model equations are a set of gyrotropic MHD equations closed by the generalized Chew-Goldberger-Low (CGL) laws with two polytropic exponents representing various thermodynamic conditions. Both ions and electrons are allowed to have separate plasma beta, pressure anisotropy and energy equations. The properties of linear MHD waves and instability criteria are examined and numerical examples for the nonlinear evolutions of slow waves, fire-hose and mirror instabilities are shown. One significant result is that slow waves may develop not only mirror instability but also a new type of compressible fire-hose instability. Their corresponding nonlinear structures thus may exhibit anticorrelated density and magnetic field perturbations, a property used for identifying slow and mirror mode structures in the space plasma environment. The conditions for nonlinear saturation of both fire-hose and mirror instabilities are examined.