Articles | Volume 18, issue 5
Review article
12 Oct 2011
Review article |  | 12 Oct 2011

Magnetic reconnection as an element of turbulence

S. Servidio, P. Dmitruk, A. Greco, M. Wan, S. Donato, P. A. Cassak, M. A. Shay, V. Carbone, and W. H. Matthaeus

Abstract. In this work, recent advances on the study of reconnection in turbulence are reviewed. Using direct numerical simulations of decaying incompressible two-dimensional magnetohydrodynamics (MHD), it was found that in fully developed turbulence complex processes of reconnection locally occur (Servidio et al., 2009, 2010a). In this complex scenario, reconnection is spontaneous but locally driven by the fields, with the boundary conditions provided by the turbulence. Matching classical turbulence analysis with a generalized Sweet-Parker theory, the statistical features of these multiple-reconnection events have been identified. A discussion on the accuracy of our algorithms is provided, highlighting the necessity of adequate spatial resolution. Applications to the study of solar wind discontinuities are reviewed, comparing simulations to spacecraft observations. New results are shown, studying the time evolution of these local reconnection events. A preliminary study on the comparison between MHD and Hall MHD is reported. Our new approach to the study of reconnection as an element of turbulence has broad applications to space plasmas, shedding a new light on the study of magnetic reconnection in nature.