Solar wave-field simulation for testing prospects of helioseismic measurements of deep meridional flows

T. Hartlep, J. Zhao, A. G. Kosovichev, N. N. Mansour

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21 Scopus citations


The meridional flow in the Sun is an axisymmetric flow that is generally directed poleward at the surface, and is presumed to be of fundamental importance in the generation and transport of magnetic fields. Its true shape and strength, however, are debated. We present a numerical simulation of helioseismic wave propagation in the whole solar interior in the presence of a prescribed, stationary, single-cell, deep meridional circulation serving as synthetic data for helioseismic measurement techniques. A deep-focusing time-distance helioseismology technique is applied to the synthetic data, showing that it can in fact be used to measure the effects of the meridional flow very deep in the solar convection zone. It is shown that the ray approximation that is commonly used for interpretation of helioseismology measurements remains a reasonable approximation even for very long distances between 12° and 42° corresponding to depths between 52 and 195 Mm. From the measurement noise, we extrapolate that time-resolved observations on the order of a full solar cycle may be needed to probe the flow all the way to the base of the convection zone.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number132
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 10 2013
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • Sun: helioseismology
  • Sun: interior
  • Sun: oscillations
  • methods: numerical


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