Evidence of Kinetic Alfvén Waves in the Solar Wind at 1 AU
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Several independent lines of observational evidence of the existence of kinetic Alfvén waves (KAWs) in the solar wind are briefly reviewed. Each piece of evidence is inconclusive when considered separately, but when taken together, it is reasonable to conclude from these observations that KAWs in the form of kinetic Alfvén turbulence are almost always present in the free-flowing solar wind near 1 AU and, by inference, perhaps throughout much of the heliosphere.
KeywordsFluctuations Kinetic Alfvén waves Solar wind Turbulence
The contents of this paper are based on an invited talk presented at the Solar Wind Thirteen conference held on the Big Island of Hawaii in June of 2012. This review, which covers many details not included in the talk, was motivated a few months after the meeting by personal comments from an esteemed solar wind scientist and plasma physicist whose incredulous view on the existence of KAWs in the solar wind is confuted by experimental data. I am grateful to several of my colleagues who provided valuable feedback that significantly improved this paper. This research was supported by the NASA Solar and Heliospheric Physics Program and by the NSF Shine Program.
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