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Journal Articles Physics of the Earth and Planetary Interiors Year : 2011

Mode analysis of numerical geodynamo models

D. Schmitt
  • Function : Author
P. Hoyng
  • Function : Author


It has been suggested in Hoyng (2009) that dynamo action can be analysed by expansion of the magnetic field into dynamo modes and statistical evaluation of the mode coefficients. We here validate this method by analysing a numerical geodynamo model and comparing the numerically derived mean mode coefficients with the theoretical predictions. The model belongs to the class of kinematically stable dynamos with a dominating axisymmetric, dipolar and non-periodic fundamental dynamo mode. Our present study supports that contributions from higher order modes to the magnetic field result from the deformation of the fundamental mode by the turbulent flow. The analysis requires a number of steps: the computation of the so-called dynamo coefficients, the derivation of the temporally and azimuthally averaged dynamo eigenmodes and the decomposition of the magnetic field of the numerical geodynamo model into the eigenmodes. For the determination of the theoretical mode excitation levels the turbulent velocity field needs to be projected on the dynamo eigenmodes. We compare the theoretically and numerically derived mean mode coefficients and find reasonably good agreement for most of the modes. Some deviation might be attributable to the approximation involved in the theory. Since the dynamo eigenmodes are not self-adjoint, a spectral interpretation of the eigenmodes is not possible.

Dates and versions

insu-03606439 , version 1 (11-03-2022)



M. Schrinner, D. Schmitt, P. Hoyng. Mode analysis of numerical geodynamo models. Physics of the Earth and Planetary Interiors, 2011, 188, pp.185-193. ⟨10.1016/j.pepi.2011.07.005⟩. ⟨insu-03606439⟩
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