5:15 PM - 6:30 PM
[PEM04-P23] Nonlinear reflection process of linearly-polarized, broadband Alfven waves in the fast solar wind
Keywords:solar wind, Alfvén wave
Using one-dimensional numerical simulations, we study the elementary process of Alfvén wave reflection in a uniform medium, including nonlinear effects. In the linear regime, Alfvén wave reflection is triggered only by the inhomogeneity of the medium, whereas in the nonlinear regime, it can occur via nonlinear wave-wave interactions. Such nonlinear reflection (backscattering) is typified by decay instability. In most studies of decay instabilities, the initial condition has been a circularly polarized Alfvén wave. In this study we consider a linearly polarized Alfvén wave, which drives density fluctuations by its magnetic pressure force. For generality, we also assume a broadband wave with a red-noise spectrum. In the data analysis, we decompose the fluctuations into characteristic variables using local eigenvectors, thus revealing the behaviors of the individual modes.
Different from circular-polarization case, we find that the wave steepening produces a new energy channel from the parent Alfvén wave to the backscattered one. Such nonlinear reflection explains the observed increasing energy ratio of the sunward to the anti-sunward Alfvénic fluctuations in the solar wind with distance (Bavassano et al. 2000 JGR) against the dynamical alignment effect (Dobrowolny et al. 1980 Phys.Rev.Lett.).