Alfvénic fluctuations in "newborn"' polar solar wind
- 1Istituto di Fisica dello Spazio Interplanetario, Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica, Rome, Italy
- 2Dipartimento di Fisica, Università di L’Aquila, L’Aquila, Italy
Abstract. The 3-D structure of the solar wind is strongly dependent upon the Sun's activity cycle. At low solar activity a bimodal structure is dominant, with a fast and uniform flow at the high latitudes, and slow and variable flows at low latitudes. Around solar maximum, in sharp contrast, variable flows are observed at all latitudes. This last kind of pattern, however, is a relatively short-lived feature, and quite soon after solar maximum the polar wind tends to regain its role. The plasma parameter distributions for these newborn polar flows appear very similar to those typically observed in polar wind at low solar activity. The point addressed here is about polar wind fluctuations. As is well known, the low-solar-activity polar wind is characterized by a strong flow of Alfvénic fluctuations. Does this hold for the new polar flows too? An answer to this question is given here through a comparative statistical analysis on parameters such as total energy, cross helicity, and residual energy, that are of general use to describe the Alfvénic character of fluctuations. Our results indicate that the main features of the Alfvénic fluctuations observed in low-solar-activity polar wind have been quickly recovered in the new polar flows developed shortly after solar maximum.
Keywords. Interplanetary physics (MHD waves and turbulence; Sources of the solar wind) – Space plasma physics (Turbulence)