Nonlocal nonlinear coupling of kinetic sound waves
Abstract. We study three-wave resonant interactions among kinetic-scale oblique sound waves in the low-frequency range below the ion cyclotron frequency. The nonlinear eigenmode equation is derived in the framework of a two-fluid plasma model. Because of dispersive modifications at small wavelengths perpendicular to the background magnetic field, these waves become a decay-type mode. We found two decay channels, one into co-propagating product waves (forward decay), and another into counter-propagating product waves (reverse decay). All wavenumbers in the forward decay are similar and hence this decay is local in wavenumber space. On the contrary, the reverse decay generates waves with wavenumbers that are much larger than in the original pump waves and is therefore intrinsically nonlocal. In general, the reverse decay is significantly faster than the forward one, suggesting a nonlocal spectral transport induced by oblique sound waves. Even with low-amplitude sound waves the nonlinear interaction rate is larger than the collisionless dissipation rate. Possible applications regarding acoustic waves observed in the solar corona, solar wind, and topside ionosphere are briefly discussed.