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NP6.6

Magnetic reconnection and turbulence in Space, Laboratory and Astrophysical Systems
Convener: G. Lapenta 
Oral Programme
 / Fri, 27 Apr, 13:30–15:15  / Room 28
Poster Programme
 / Attendance Fri, 27 Apr, 10:30–12:00  / Hall X/Y
Poster Summaries & DiscussionsPSD8.5  / Fri, 27 Apr, 08:30–09:15  /  
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Magnetized plasmas are frequently turbulent in astrophysical systems, as well as in space and laboratory. The turbulence is known to change many properties of fluids, in particular their transport properties. Does it change the properties of magnetic reconnection? What is the back reaction of magnetic reconnection on turbulence in magnetized plasmas? These two interrelated questions are the focus of the proposed session. We aim at creating a forum of experts to summarize the recent significant advances in both the field of turbulence and magnetic reconnection and provide the forum for discussing new directions.

In many situations, e.g. in the Solar wind case, the properties of turbulence are affected by the properties of the energy injection scale. Therefore it is essential to search for the signatures of how the properties of turbulence and the measured properties of magnetic reconnection are related.

The novelity of the proposed session is twofold. First of all, reconnection is usually assumed to be slow, unless special conditions are satisfied, e.g. magnetized plasma is collisionless. Is it always true? While a lot of the research in the area of reconnection deals with collisionless processes, many important questions are left unaswered. Is Sweet-Parker reconnection stable for large Lundquist numbers? Do we expect collisional gas, which constitutes most of the Sun's interior, Sun's photosphere, interstellar media etc. to exhibit slow reconnection? The latter would mean that the entire crop of simulations of magnetized collisional media are in error. Second, the discussion of magnetic turbulence is usually is disconnected from the fundamental property of magnetic field to reconnect. At the same time, one should realize that the phenomenon of slow reconnection, if it takes place in turbulent systems, must substantially modify the properties of turbulence and may potential
ly make the simulations with the present diffusive codes not representative of the turbulence in actual astrophysical environments of high conductivity.
Magnetic reconnection is a universal energy dissipation mechanism occurring in magnetized plasmas. Such plasmas are frequently in a turbulent state, raising the fundamental question of how reconnection and turbulence are related to each other. In addition, many key processes, e.g. particle acceleration, may be driven both by magnetic reconnection and magnetic turbulence, but it is difficult to find reliable ways to distinguish the consequences of the processes.

In 2012, a special component of this recurring session will be to host a code comparison effort focusing especially on reconnection processes. This code comparison is promoted by the EC-funded FP7 project SWIFF (swiff.eu) but is open to all. More details on the suite of code comparison benchmarks can be found at: http://swiff.eu/wiki/index.php?title=Main_Page