Solar Physics

, Volume 260, Issue 2, pp 251–260 | Cite as

Nonlinear Evolution of Axisymmetric Twisted Flux Tubes in the Solar Tachocline



We numerically study the evolution of magnetic fields and fluid flows in a thin spherical shell. We take the initial field to be a latitudinally confined, predominantly toroidal flux tube. For purely toroidal, untwisted flux tubes, we recover previously known radial-shredding instabilities, and show further that in the nonlinear regime these instabilities can very effectively destroy the original field. For twisted flux tubes, also including a poloidal component, there are several possibilities, including the suppression of the radial-shredding instability, but also a more directly induced evolution, brought about because twisted flux tubes in general are not equilibrium solutions of the governing equations.


Interior, tachocline Instabilities Magnetohydrodynamics 


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Applied MathematicsUniversity of LeedsLeedsUK
  2. 2.Centre for Stellar and Planetary Astrophysics, School of Mathematical SciencesMonash UniversityClaytonAustralia

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