G. Guerrero, P. K. Smolarkiewicz, E. M.De Gouveia Dal Pino, A. G. Kosovichev, N. N. Mansour

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29 Scopus citations


The phenomenon of solar "torsional oscillations" (TO) represents migratory zonal flows associated with the solar cycle. These flows are observed on the solar surface and, according to helioseismology, extend through the convection zone. We study the origin of the TO using results from a global MHD simulation of the solar interior that reproduces several of the observed characteristics of the mean-flows and magnetic fields. Our results indicate that the magnetic tension (MT) in the tachocline region is a key factor for the periodic changes in the angular momentum transport that causes the TO. The torque induced by the MT at the base of the convection zone is positive at the poles and negative at the equator. A rising MT torque at higher latitudes causes the poles to speed up, whereas a declining negative MT torque at the lower latitudes causes the equator to slow-down. These changes in the zonal flows propagate through the convection zone up to the surface. Additionally, our results suggest that it is the magnetic field at the tachocline that modulates the amplitude of the surface meridional flow rather than the opposite as assumed by flux-transport dynamo models of the solar cycle.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberL3
JournalAstrophysical Journal Letters
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • Sun: interior
  • Sun: magnetic fields
  • Sun: rotation


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