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5 Numerical Simulations

Numerical simulations currently represent one of the main source of information about non-linear evolution of fluid flows. The actual super-computers are now powerful enough to simulate equations (NS or MHD) that describe turbulent flows with Reynolds numbers of the order of 104 in two-dimensional configurations, or 103 in three-dimensional one. Of course, we are far from achieving realistic values, but now we are able to investigate turbulence with an inertial range extended for more than one decade. Rather the main source of difficulties to get results from numerical simulations is the fact that they are made under some obvious constraints (say boundary conditions, equations to be simulated, etc.), mainly dictated by the limited physical description that we are able to use when numerical simulations are made, compared with the extreme richness of the phenomena involved: numerical simulations, even in standard conditions, are used tout court as models for the solar wind behavior. Perhaps the only exception, to our knowledge, is the attempt to describe the effects of the solar wind expansion on turbulence evolution by Velli et al. (19891990). Even with this far too pessimistic point of view, used here solely as a few words of caution, simulations in some cases were able to reproduce some phenomena observed in the solar wind.

Nevertheless, numerical simulations have been playing a key role, and will continue to do so in our seeking an understanding of turbulent flows. Numerical simulations allows us to get information that cannot be obtained in laboratory. For example, high resolution numerical simulations provide information at every point on a grid and, for some times, about basic vector quantities and their derivatives. The number of degree of freedom required to resolve the smaller scales is proportional to a power of the Reynolds number, say to 9/4 Re, although the dynamically relevant number of modes may be much less. Then one of the main challenge remaining is how to handle and analyze the huge data files produced by large simulations (of the order of Terabytes). Actually a lot of papers appeared in literature on computer simulations related to MHD turbulence. The interested reader can look at the book by Biskamp (1993Jump To The Next Citation Point) and the reviews by Pouquet (19931996).


 5.1 Local production of Alfvénic turbulence in the ecliptic
 5.2 Local production of Alfvénic turbulence at high latitude

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