Dynamo Models of the Solar Cycle

Update available: http://www.livingreviews.org/lrsp-2010-3

Paul Charbonneau
Département de Physique
Université de Montréal
CP 6128 Centre-Ville
Montréal (Qc), H3C-3J7

External Linkhttp://www.astro.umontreal.ca


This paper reviews recent advances and current debates in modeling the solar cycle as a hydromagnetic dynamo process. Emphasis is placed on (relatively) simple dynamo models that are nonetheless detailed enough to be comparable to solar cycle observations. After a brief overview of the dynamo problem and of key observational constraints, we begin by reviewing the various magnetic field regeneration mechanisms that have been proposed in the solar context. We move on to a presentation and critical discussion of extant solar cycle models based on these mechanisms. We then turn to the origin of fluctuations in these models, including amplitude and parity modulation, chaotic behavior, and intermittency. The paper concludes with a discussion of our current state of ignorance regarding various key questions, the most pressing perhaps being the identification of the physical mechanism(s) responsible for the generation of the Sun’s poloidal magnetic field component.

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