Turbulence and Waves in Space Plasmas

The majority of space plasmas are in a turbulent state, displaying fluctuations and non-linear behaviour at a broad range of scales. As well as being of fundamental interest, this turbulence may have important effects, such as heating of the solar wind and corona, acceleration of energetic particles, and interaction with magnetic reconnection and shocks. Measurements also suggest the presence of plasma instabilities which may generate quasi-linear waves, such as, e.g., Alfven-Ion-Cyclotron waves at ion scales and whistler waves at electron scales. Many aspects of the turbulence and instabilities are not well understood, in particular, the energy injection mechanism to the cascade, the non-linear turbulent cascade and dissipation mechanisms, non-linear instability saturation mechanisms, and the interaction between instabilities and turbulence. This session will address these questions though discussion of observational, theoretical, numerical, and laboratory work to understand these processes. This session is relevant to many currently operating missions (e.g., Wind, Cluster, MMS, STEREO, THEMIS, Van Allen Probes, DSCOVR) and in particular for Solar Orbiter and Solar Probe Plus.

Convener: Olga Alexandrova | Co-conveners: Petr Hellinger, Luca Sorriso-Valvo, Julia StawarzECSECS, Daniel Verscharen
vPICO presentations
| Wed, 28 Apr, 11:00–14:15 (CEST)

vPICO presentations: Wed, 28 Apr

Jesse Coburn, Christopher Chen, and Jonathan Squire

The solar corona is heated and accelerated sufficiently to escape the gravitational bound of the sun into the interplanetary medium as a super-Alfvénic turbulent plasma called the solar wind. The Spitzer-Härm particle mean-free-path and relaxation time (i.e. to an isotropic Maxwellian distribution function) for typical solar wind proton parameters are large compared to the system size and therefore a non-collisional treatment of the plasma can be argued to be appropriate. Despite the long mean-free-path, large scales of the solar wind are fluid-like: density-pressure polarizations follow a polytropic equation of state. These observations suggest effective collisional processes (e.g. quasi-linear relaxation, plasma wave echo) are active, altering the equation of state from a non-collisional (or kinetic) to a polytropic equation of state (e.g. fluid magnetohydrodynamics [MHD]). We employ 13 years of high cadence onboard 0th-2nd moments of the proton velocity distribution function recorded by the Wind spacecraft to study the equation of state via compressive fluctuations. Upon comparison with a collisional kinetic-MHD dispersion relation solver, our analysis indicates an effective mean-free-path (collision frequency) that is [∼102] smaller (larger) than the typical Spitzer-Härm estimate. This effect is scale dependent justifying a fluid approach to large scales which breaks down at smaller scales where a more complex equation of state is necessary.

How to cite: Coburn, J., Chen, C., and Squire, J.: Measurement of the effective mean-free-path of the solar wind protons, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-77,, 2021.

Sergey Kamaletdinov, Ivan Vasko, Egor Yushkov, Anton Artemyev, and Rachel Wang

Slow electron holes, that are electrostatic solitary waves propagating with velocities comparable to the ion thermal velocity, can contribute to plasma heating and provide an anomalous resistivity in various space plasma systems. In addition, the analysis of electron holes allows revealing instabilities operating on time scales not resolved by plasma instruments. We present experimental analysis of more than 100 slow electron holes in the Earth’s bow shock and more than 1000 slow electron holes in the Earth’s nightside magnetosphere. We show that in both regions, the electron holes have similar parameters. The spatial scales are in the range from 1 to 10 Debye lengths, amplitudes of the electrostatic potential are typically below 0.1 of local electron temperature, velocities in the plasma rest frame are of the order of local ion-acoustic velocity. We show that in both regions the electron holes are most likely produced by Buneman-type instabilities. We develop theoretical models of the electron holes and compare them to MMS observations. The lifetime and the transverse instability of the electron holes are discussed.

This work was supported by the Russian Scientific Foundation, Project No. 19–12-00313

How to cite: Kamaletdinov, S., Vasko, I., Yushkov, E., Artemyev, A., and Wang, R.: Slow electrostatic solitary waves in the Earth's magnetosphere, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-990,, 2021.

Owen Roberts, Jessica Thwaites, Luca Sorriso-Valvo, Rumi Nakamura, and Zoltan Voros

Turbulent density fluctuations are investigated in the solar wind at sub-ion scales using calibrated spacecraft potential. The measurement technique using the spacecraft potential allows for a much higher time resolution and sensitivity when compared to direct measurements using plasma instruments. Using this novel method, density fluctuations can be measured with unprecedentedly high time resolutions for in situ measurements of solar wind plasma at 1 a.u. By investigating 1 h of high-time resolution data, the scale dependant kurtosis is calculated by varying the time lag τ to calculate increments between observations. The scale-dependent kurtosis is found to increase towards ion scales but then plateaus and remains fairly constant through the sub-ion range in a similar fashion to magnetic field measurements. The sub-ion range is also found to exhibit self-similar monofractal behavior contrasting sharply with the multi-fractal behavior at large scales. The scale-dependent kurtosis is also calculated using increments between two different spacecraft. When the time lags are converted using the ion bulk velocity to a comparable spatial lag, a discrepancy is observed between the two measurement techniques. Several different possibilities are discussed including a breakdown of Taylor’s hypothesis, high-frequency plasma waves, or intrinsic differences between sampling directions.

How to cite: Roberts, O., Thwaites, J., Sorriso-Valvo, L., Nakamura, R., and Voros, Z.: Higher-Order Statistics in Compressive Solar Wind Plasma Turbulence: High-Resolution Density Observations From the Magnetospheric MultiScale Mission, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-2032,, 2021.

Jana Šafránková, Zdeněk Němeček, František Němec, Luca Franci, and Alexander Pitňa

The solar wind is a unique laboratory to study the turbulent processes occurring in a collisionless plasma with high Reynolds numbers. A turbulent cascade—the process that transfers the free energy contained within the large scale fluctuations into the smaller ones—is believed to be one of the most important mechanisms responsible for heating of the solar corona and solar wind. The paper analyzes power spectra of solar wind velocity, density and magnetic field fluctuations that are computed in the frequency range around the break between inertial and kinetic scales. The study uses measurements of the Bright Monitor of the Solar Wind (BMSW) on board the Spektr-R spacecraft with a time resolution of 32 ms complemented with 10 Hz magnetic field observations from the Wind spacecraft propagated to the Spektr-R location. The statistics based on more than 42,000 individual spectra show that: (1) the spectra of both quantities can be fitted by two (three in the case of the density) power-law segments; (2) the median slopes of parallel and perpendicular fluctuation velocity and magnetic field components are different; (3) the break between MHD and kinetic scales as well as the slopes are mainly controlled by the ion beta parameter. These experimental results are compared with high-resolution 2D hybrid particle-in-cell simulations, where the electrons are considered to be a massless, charge-neutralizing fluid with a constant temperature, whereas the ions are described as macroparticles representing portions of their distribution function. In spite of several limitations (lack of the electron kinetics, lower dimensionality), the model results agree well with the experimental findings. Finally, we discuss differences between observations and simulations in relation to the role of important physical parameters in determining the properties of the turbulent cascade.

How to cite: Šafránková, J., Němeček, Z., Němec, F., Franci, L., and Pitňa, A.: Power spectral density of magnetic field and ion velocity fluctuations from inertial to kinetic ranges, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-2837,, 2021.

Javier Silva, Pablo Moya, and Adolfo Viñas

The space between the Sun and our planet is not empty. It is filled with the expanding plasma of the solar corona called the Solar Wind, which is a tenuous weakly collisional plasma composed mainly by protons and electrons. Due to the lack of sufficient collisions, the electron velocity distribution function in the Solar Wind usually exhibits a variety of non-thermal characteristics that deviate from the thermodynamic equilibrium. These deviations from equilibrium provide a local source for electromagnetic fluctuations, intimately related to the shape of the distribution function, and associated with the commonly observed kinetic instabilities such as the whistler-cyclotron for T/ T>1, and firehose for T/ T<1 and large enough plasma beta. In this work we carry out systematic statistical study of correlations of various plasma moments and interplanetary magnetic fluctuations as a function of time, in order to describe the role and evolution of these parameters in the solar plasma through the solar cycle. We consider a large time interval during solar cycle 23, ranging from solar minimum (1995-1996) to solar maximum (2000-2001). Using NASA's Wind space mission and its SWE and High-Resolution MFI instruments with resolutions of 6-15 sec and 11 vectors/sec, respectively, we show that collisionless kinetic instabilities can regulate the electron distribution as the whistler-cyclotron and firehose instability thresholds bound the temperature and plasma beta electron distributions, and such regulation is more effective during solar minimum. Subsequently, the magnetic fluctuations level increases as the electron VDF acquires a configuration close to the thresholds. In addition, we note that there is a high difference between the fast and slow wind regimes given a greater tendency towards larger collisionallity and isotropization for low speeds streams, and magnetic fluctuations amplitude decreases as collisional age increases. In summary, our results indicate that collisionless plasma processes and Coulomb collisions effects coexist and both seem to play relevant roles in shaping the observed electron distributions.

How to cite: Silva, J., Moya, P., and Viñas, A.: Study of the relationship between the observations of electron distributions in the solar wind and interplanetary magnetic field fluctuations , EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-3332,, 2021.

Bea Zenteno-Quinteros, Adolfo F. Viñas, and Pablo S. Moya

Electron velocity distributions in the solar wind are known to have field-aligned skewness, which has been observationally characterized by the presence of secondary populations such as the halo and strahl electron components. This non-thermal feature provides energy for the excitation of electromagnetic instabilities that may play a role in regulating the electron heat flux in the solar wind by wave-particle interactions. Among the wave modes excited in regulating the electron non-thermal features is the whistler-mode and its so-called whistler heat-flux instability (WHFI). In this work, we use kinetic linear theory to analyze the stability of the WHFI in a solar wind like plasma where the electrons are described as a single population modeled by a Kappa distribution to which an asymmetry term has been added. We solve the dispersion relation numerically for the parallel propagating whistler-mode and study its linear stability for different plasma parameters. We also show the marginal stability thresholds for this instability as a function of the electron beta and the parallel electron heat flux and present a threshold condition for instability that can be modeled to compare with observational data. The principal result is that the WHFI can develop in this system; however, the heat flux parameter is not a good predictor of how unstable this wave mode will be. This is because different plasma states, with different stability to WHFI, can have the same initial heat flux. Thus, systems with high can be stable enough to WHFI so that it cannot effectively modify the heat flux values through wave-particle interactions

How to cite: Zenteno-Quinteros, B., F. Viñas, A., and Moya, P. S.: Skew-Kappa distribution functions & whistler-heat flux instability in the solar wind, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-3464,, 2021.

Pablo S Moya and Roberto E Navarro

Turbulence in space plasmas usually exhibits two regimes separated by a spectral break that divides the so called inertial and kinetic ranges. Large scale magnetic fluctuations are dominated by MHD non-linear wave-wave interactions following a -5/3 or -3/2 slope power-law spectrum. After the break, at scales in which kinetic effects take place, the magnetic spectrum follows a steeper power-law k- α shape given by a spectral index α > 5/3. The location of the break and the particular value of α, depend on plasma conditions, and different space environments can exhibit different spectral indices. Despite its ubiquitousness, the possible effects of a turbulent background spectrum in the quasilinear relaxation of solar wind temperatures are usually not considered. In this work, a quasilinear kinetic theory is used to study the evolution of the proton temperatures in a solar wind-like plasma composed by cold electrons and bi-Maxwellian protons, in which electromagnetic waves propagate along a background magnetic field. Four wave spectrum shapes are compared with different levels of wave intensity. We show that a sufficient turbulent magnetic power can drive stable protons to transverse heating, resulting in an increase in the temperature anisotropy and the reduction of the parallel proton beta. Thus, stable proton velocity distribution can evolve in such a way as to develop kinetic instabilities. This may explain why the constituents of the solar wind can be observed far from thermodynamic equilibrium and near the instability thresholds.

How to cite: Moya, P. S. and Navarro, R. E.: Effects of the Background Turbulence on the Relaxation of Ion Temperature Anisotropy in Space Plasmas, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-3597,, 2021.

Vincent David and Sébastien Galtier

The zeroth law of turbulence is one of the oldest conjecture in turbulence that is still unproven. We consider weak solutions of one-dimensional (1D) compressible magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) and demonstrate that the lack of smoothness of the fields introduces a new dissipative term, named inertial dissipation, into the expression of energy conservation that is neither viscous nor resistive in nature. We propose exact solutions assuming that the kinematic viscosity and the magnetic diffusivity are equal, and we demonstrate that the associated inertial dissipation is, on average, positive and equal to the mean viscous dissipation rate in the limit of small viscosity, proving the conjecture of the zeroth law of turbulence.

We show that discontinuities commonly de- tected by Voyager 1 & 2 in the solar wind at 2–10AU can be fitted by the inviscid analytical profiles. We deduce a heating rate of ∼ 10−18 Jm−3s−1 , which is significantly higher than the value obtained from the turbulent fluctuations. This suggests that collisionless shocks are a dominant source of heating in the outer solar wind.

How to cite: David, V. and Galtier, S.: Proof of the zeroth law of turbulence in one-dimensional compressible magnetohydrodynamics and heating of the sawtooth solar wind, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-7768,, 2021.

GuanShan Pu, ChuanBing Wang, PeiJin Zhang, and Lin Ye

Intrinsic Alfven waves (IAWs) exist pervasively in the solar-terrestrial plasma, which can preferentially heat newborn ions in the direction perpendicular to the ambient magnetic field via non-resonant interactions when the plasma beta is low. The anisotropized newborn ion populations can excite electromagnetic ion-cyclotron (EMIC) instability. Parametric calculations indicate that the lower the plasma beta is, the higher the growth rate, while the growth rate increases with the number density of newborn ions and the intensity of IAWs. The marginal stable surface in three-dimensional parameter space is also calculated, which provides a qualitative description of parametric conditions for instability. We propose that the coupled effects of non-resonant heating by IAWs and EMIC instability could be an effective mechanism for transferring the energy from low-frequency IAWs to EMIC waves with a frequency below the gyrofrequency of the corresponding ion species. Furthermore, the temperature anisotropy of background ions with the same sense has positive effects on the growth of EMIC waves excited by newborn ions.

How to cite: Pu, G., Wang, C., Zhang, P., and Ye, L.: Electromagnetic ion-cyclotron instability in low beta plasma with intrinsic Alfven waves, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-8566,, 2021.

Rocio Manobanda, Christian Vasconez, Denise Perrone, Raffaele Marino, Dimitri Laveder, Francesco Valentini, Sergio Servidio, Pablo Minini, and Luca Sorriso-Valvo

Structured, highly variable and virtually collision-free. Space plasma is an unique laboratory for studying the transfer of energy in a highly turbulent environment. This turbulent medium plays an important role in various aspects of the Solar--Wind generation, particles acceleration and heating, and even in the propagation of cosmic rays. Moreover, the Solar Wind continuous expansion develops a strong turbulent character, which evolves towards a state that resembles the well-known hydrodynamic turbulence (Bruno and Carbone). This turbulence is then dissipated from magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) through kinetic scales by different -not yet well understood- mechanisms. In the MHD approach, Kolmogorov-like behaviour is supported by power-law spectra and intermittency measured in observations of magnetic and velocity fluctuations. In this regime, the intermittent cross-scale energy transfer has been extensively described by the Politano--Pouquet (global) law, which is based on conservation laws of the MHD invariants, and was recently expanded to take into account the physics at the bottom of the inertial (or Hall) range, e.g. (Ferrand et al., 2019). Following the 'Turbulence Dissipation Challenge', we study the properties of the turbulent energy transfer using three different bi-dimensional numerical models of space plasma. The models, Hall-MHD (HMHD), Landau Fluid (LF) and Hybrid Vlasov-Maxwell (HVM), were ran in collisionless-plasma conditions, with an out-of-plane ambient magnetic field, and with magnetic diffusivity carefully calibrated in the fluid models. As each model has its own range of validity, it allows us to explore a long-enough range of scales at a period of maximal turbulence activity. Here, we estimate the local and global scaling properties of different energy channels using a, recently introduced, proxy of the local turbulent energy transfer (LET) rate (Sorriso-Valvo et al., 2018). This study provides information on the structure of the energy fluxes that transfers (and dissipates) most of the energy at small scales throughout the turbulent cascade. 

How to cite: Manobanda, R., Vasconez, C., Perrone, D., Marino, R., Laveder, D., Valentini, F., Servidio, S., Minini, P., and Sorriso-Valvo, L.: Turbulent energy transfer in bidimensional numerical models of plasma, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-8898,, 2021.

Roland Grappin, Andrea Verdini, and Wolf-Christian Müller

Alfvénic turbulence denotes a regime of MHD turbulence in which Alfvén waves propagating in a given direction along the mean field are dominant, as commonly found in polar regions/coronal holes/fast solar wind. 

Generalization to Alfvénic turbulence of the Iroshnikov-Kraichnan (IK) weak theory concluded that one should observe a time increase of the imbalance between both Alfvén species and observe the so-called “spectral pinning”, i.e., steep spectra (with spectral index m+>3/2) for the dominant energy E+ and flat spectra (with index m-<3/2) for the sub-dominant energy E-.

Since then, observations in the inner heliosphere have shown on the contrary a decrease of imbalance with time, with both species showing the same flat spectra (m± → -3/2) when imbalance is large.

We show here using direct MHD simulations that both behaviors may occur, the control parameters being the solar wind expansion rate as well as initial conditions of the plasma close to the Sun.

How to cite: Grappin, R., Verdini, A., and Müller, W.-C.: Spectral evolution of Alfvénic turbulence, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-9861,, 2021.

Victor Montagud-Camps, Petr Hellinger, Andrea Verdini, Simone Landi, Emanuele Papini, Luca Franci, and Lorenzo Matteini

Turbulence in the solar wind is developed along a vast range of scales, generally under weakly compressible and strong magnetic field plasma conditions.
The effects of weakly and moderate compressibility (Mach ≤1) and turbulence anisotropy on the energy transfer rate are investigated at MHD and Hall MHD scales. For this purpose, the results of two and three-dimensional compressible Hall MHD simulations are analyzed using a new form of the Karman-Howarth-Monin (KHM) equations that accounts for compressible effects down to Hall MHD scales.
The KHM are dynamic equations directly derived from the basic fluid equations that describe the plasma, such as the Hall MHD equations. They provide a relation between the two-point cross-correlations in real space or II-order structure functions, the III-order structure functions and the energy cascade rate of turbulence. These relations depend upon turbulence anisotropy. The effects of compressibility and the Hall term on anisotropy and the estimation of the energy cascade rate via the KHM equations are discussed.

How to cite: Montagud-Camps, V., Hellinger, P., Verdini, A., Landi, S., Papini, E., Franci, L., and Matteini, L.: Karman-Howarth-Monin equation for compressible Hall MHD  turbulence: 2D and 3D Hall MHD simulations, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-11106,, 2021.

Alexander Vinogradov, Olga Alexandrova, Anton Artemyev, Milan Maksimovic, Vasiliev Alexei, Anatoly Petrukovich, Stuart Bale, Karine Issautier, and Michel Moncuquet

We study intermittency of turbulence in the young solar wind at 0.17 au with NASA/Parker Solar Probe during the first perihelion. We use a merged FIELDS/Search Coil and Fluxgate Magnetometers data for magnetic field, SWEAP/SPC instrument for ions and RFS/FIELDS quasi thermal noise data for electrons to characterize the plasma environment. The merged magnetic waveforms have 3.4 ms time resolution, which allows us to resolve a wide range of scales, going from MHD inertial range to sub-ion range. We apply a wavelet transform to the magnetic waveforms and we observe localized enhancements in power density that form corresponding peaks in Local Intermittency Measure (LIM) going from MHD to kinetic scales. These LIM peaks are not present in the random-phase signal with the same Fourier amplitudes. This indicates the presence of coherent structures in the observed signal. To detect coherent structures at a given timescale, we use the maximum of the random-phase signal LIM at the same scale as a threshold. We observe a variety of coherent events from MHD to kinetic scales. We estimate the filling factor of the structures as well as their minimum variance properties and local topology. The physical connections between intermittency and solar wind heating are discussed.

How to cite: Vinogradov, A., Alexandrova, O., Artemyev, A., Maksimovic, M., Alexei, V., Petrukovich, A., Bale, S., Issautier, K., and Moncuquet, M.: Young solar wind coherent structures from inertial to sub-ion range, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-11561,, 2021.

Lunch break
Deepali Deepali and Supratik Banerjee

We study the variation of average powers and spectral indices of electric field fluctuations with respect to the angle between average flow direction and the mean magnetic field in solar wind turbulence. Cluster spacecraft data from the years 2002 and 2007 are used for the present analysis. We perform a scale dependent study with respect to the local mean magnetic field using wavelet analysis technique. Prominent anisotropies are found for both the spectral index and power levels of the electric power spectra. Similar to the magnetic field fluctuations, the parallel (or antiparallel) electric fluctuation spectrum is found to be steeper than the perpendicular spectrum. However the parallel (or antiparallel) electric power is found to be greater than the perpendicular one. Below 0.1 Hz, the slope of the parallel electric power spectra deviates substantially from that of the total magnetic power spectra, supporting the existence of Alfvénic turbulence.

How to cite: Deepali, D. and Banerjee, S.: Scale dependent anisotropy of electric field fluctuations in solar wind turbulence, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-11968,, 2021.

Eduard Kontar and Hamish Reid
The Sun frequently accelerates near-relativistic electron beams that travel out through the solar corona and interplanetary space. Interacting with their plasma environment, these beams produce type III radio bursts, the brightest astrophysical radio sources detected by humans. The formation and motion of type III fine frequency structures is a puzzle but is commonly believed to be related to plasma turbulence in the solar corona and solar wind. Combining a theoretical framework with kinetic simulations and high-resolution radio type III observations, we quantitatively show that the fine structures are caused by the moving intense clumps of Langmuir waves in a turbulent medium. Our results show how type III fine structure can be used to remotely analyse the intensity and spectrum of compressive density fluctuations, and can infer ambient temperatures in astrophysical plasma, both significantly expanding the current diagnostic potential of solar radio emission.

How to cite: Kontar, E. and Reid, H.: Solar type III radio burst fine structure from Langmuir wave motion through turbulent plasma, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-12013,, 2021.

Olga Alexandrova, Vamsee Krishna Jagarlamudi, Petr Hellinger, Milan Maksimovic, Yuri Shprits, and Andre Mangeney

We investigate the spectral properties of the turbulence in the solar wind which is a weakly collisional astrophysical plasma, accessible by in-situ observations. Using the Helios search coil magnetometer measurements in the fast solar wind, in the inner heliosphere, we focus on properties of the turbulent magnetic fluctuations at scales smaller than the ion characteristic scales, the so-called kinetic plasma turbulence. At such small scales, we show that the magnetic power spectra between 0.3 and 0.9 AU from the Sun have a generic shape ~f-8/3exp(-f/fd) where the dissipation frequency fd is correlated with the Doppler shifted frequency fρe of the electron Larmor radius. This behavior is statistically significant: all the observed kinetic spectra are well described by this model, with fd=fρe/1.8. These results provide important constraints on the dissipation mechanism in nearly collisionless space plasmas.

How to cite: Alexandrova, O., Krishna Jagarlamudi, V., Hellinger, P., Maksimovic, M., Shprits, Y., and Mangeney, A.: Spectrum of kinetic plasma turbulence at 0.3-0.9 AU from the Sun, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-12072,, 2021.

Harlan Spence, Kristopher Klein, and HelioSwarm Science Team

Recently selected for phase A study for NASA’s Heliophysics MidEx Announcement of Opportunity, the HelioSwarm Observatory proposes to transform our understanding of the physics of turbulence in space and astrophysical plasmas by deploying nine spacecraft to measure the local plasma and magnetic field conditions at many points, with separations between the spacecraft spanning MHD and ion scales.  HelioSwarm resolves the transfer and dissipation of turbulent energy in weakly-collisional magnetized plasmas with a novel configuration of spacecraft in the solar wind. These simultaneous multi-point, multi-scale measurements of space plasmas allow us to reach closure on two science goals comprised of six science objectives: (1) reveal how turbulent energy is transferred in the most probable, undisturbed solar wind plasma and distributed as a function of scale and time; (2) reveal how this turbulent cascade of energy varies with the background magnetic field and plasma parameters in more extreme solar wind environments; (3) quantify the transfer of turbulent energy between fields, flows, and ion heat; (4) identify thermodynamic impacts of intermittent structures on ion distributions; (5) determine how solar wind turbulence affects and is affected by large-scale solar wind structures; and (6) determine how strongly driven turbulence differs from that in the undisturbed solar wind. 

How to cite: Spence, H., Klein, K., and Science Team, H.: HelioSwarm: The Nature of Turbulence in Space Plasmas, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-12092,, 2021.

Maria Riazantseva, Liudmila Rakhmanova, Yuri Yermolaev, Irina Lodkina, Georgy Zastenker, Jana Safrankova, Zdenek Nemecek, and Lubomir Prech

Appearance of measurements of the interplanetary medium parameters with high temporal resolution gave rise to a variety of investigations of turbulent cascade at ion kinetic scales at which processes of plasma heating was believed to operate. Our recent studies based on high frequency plasma measurements at Spektr-R spacecraft have shown that the turbulent cascade was not stable and dynamically changed depending on the plasma conditions in different large-scale solar wind structures. These changes was most significant at the kinetic scales of the turbulent cascade. Slow undisturbed solar wind was characterized by the consistency of the spectra to the predictions of the kinetic Alfven wave turbulence model. On the other hand, the discrepancy between the model predictions and registered spectra were found in stream interaction regions characterized by crucial steepening of spectra at the kinetic scales with slopes having values up to -(4-5). This discrepancy was clearly shown for plasma compression region Sheath in front of the magnetic clouds and CIR in front of high speed streams associated with coronal holes. Present study is focused on the break preceding the kinetic scales. Currently the characteristic plasma parameters associated with the formation of the break is still debated. Number of studies demonstrated that the break was consistent with distinct characteristic frequencies for different values ​​of the plasma proton parameter beta βp. Present study consider the ratio between the break frequency determined for ion flux fluctuation spectra according to Spektr-R data and several characteristic plasma frequencies used traditionally in such cases. The value of this ratio is statistically compared for different large-scale solar wind streams. We analyze both the classical spectrum view with two slopes and one break and the spectrum with flattening between magnetohydrodynamic and kinetic scales.  Our results show that for the Sheath and CIR regions characterized typically by βp ≤1 the break corresponds statistically to the frequency determined by the proton gyroradius. At the same time such correspondence are not observed either for the undisturbed slow solar wind with similar βp value or for disturbed flows associated with interplanetary manifestations of coronal mass ejections, where βp << 1. The results also shows that in slow undisturbed solar wind the break is closer to the frequency determined by the inertial proton length. Thus, apparently the transition between streams of different speeds may result in the change of dissipation regimes and plays role in plasma heating at these areas. This work was supported by the RFBR grant No. 19-02-00177a

How to cite: Riazantseva, M., Rakhmanova, L., Yermolaev, Y., Lodkina, I., Zastenker, G., Safrankova, J., Nemecek, Z., and Prech, L.: Ion-scale break of the plasma fluctuation spectra in different large-scale solar wind streams, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-13569,, 2021.

Du Toit Strauss, Gert Botha, James Chibueze, Eduard Kontar, Eugene Engelbrecht, Stefan Lotz, Robert Wicks, Vratislav Krupar, Stuart Bale, Shimul Maharaj, Natasha Jeffrey, Amore Nel, Ruhann Steyn, and Jabus van den Berg

When point-like galactic and extragalactic radio sources are observed through the solar corona by ground-based radio telescopes, plasma density fluctuations in the turbulent solar wind scatter these photons, leading to an observed broadening and/or elongation of such sources. By observing this broadening for several sources, over several days, we can get information about e.g. the wavenumber and radial dependence of solar wind density fluctuations at very small scales (~30m - 8km) inside the Alfven radius, thereby capturing details of the turbulence dissipation range. Here, we present very initial results of such a study with the MeerKAT radio telescope in South Africa (being, of course, a precursor to the much larger Square Kilometer Array, SKA), discuss the preliminary results, and compare these with theoretical estimates and previous observations.

How to cite: Strauss, D. T., Botha, G., Chibueze, J., Kontar, E., Engelbrecht, E., Lotz, S., Wicks, R., Krupar, V., Bale, S., Maharaj, S., Jeffrey, N., Nel, A., Steyn, R., and van den Berg, J.: Observing solar wind turbulence in the corona with ground-based radio telescopes, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-14180,, 2021.

Rong Lin, Jiansen He, Xingyu Zhu, Lei Zhang, Die Duan, Fouad Sahraoui, and Daniel Verscharen

We explore the multi-faceted important features of turbulence (e.g., anisotropy, dispersion, diffusion) in the three-dimensional (3D) wavenumber domain (k, kperp1, kperp2), by employing the k-filtering technique to the high-quality measurements of fields and plasmas from multi-spacecraft constellation (i.e., MMS). We compute the 3D power spectral densities (PSDs) of magnetic and electric fluctuations (marked as PSD(δB(k)) and PSD(δE′‹vi›(k))), both of which show prominent spectral anisotropy in the sub-ion range. We calculate the ratio between PSD(δE′‹vi›(k)) and PSD(δB(k)), the distribution of which is related with nonlinear dispersion relation. We also compute the ratio between electric spectra in different frames of ion flow, that is PSD(δE′local vi)/PSD(δE′‹vi›), to demonstrate the turbulence ion diffusion region (T- IDR) in the wavenumber space. The T-IDR has an anisotropy and a preferential direction of wavevectors, which is generally consistent with the plasma wave theory prediction based on the dominance of kinetic Alfvén wave (KAW). This work manifests the worth of the k-filtering technique in diagnosing turbulence comprehensively, especially when the electric field is involved.

How to cite: Lin, R., He, J., Zhu, X., Zhang, L., Duan, D., Sahraoui, F., and Verscharen, D.: Power Anisotropy, Dispersion Signature and Diffusion Region in the 3D Wavenumber Domain of Space Plasma Turbulence, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-14329,, 2021.

Daniele Telloni and the PSP/FIELDS, PSP/SWEAP, SolO/MAG and SolO/SWA/PAS team

Radial alignments between pairs of spacecraft is the only way to observationally investigate the turbulent evolution of the solar wind as it expands throughout interplanetary space. On September 2020 Parker Solar Probe (PSP) and Solar Orbiter (SolO) were nearly perfectly radially aligned, with PSP orbiting around its perihelion at 0.1 au (and crossing the nominal Alfvén point) and SolO at 1 au. PSP/SolO joint observations of the same solar wind plasma allow the extraordinary and unprecedented opportunity to study how the turbulence properties of the solar wind evolve in the inner heliosphere over the wide distance of 0.9 au. The radial evolution of (i) the MHD properties (such as radial dependence of low- and high-frequency breaks, compressibility, Alfvénic content of the fluctuations), (ii) the polarization status, (iii) the presence of wave modes at kinetic scale as well as their distribution in the plasma instability-temperature anisotropy plane are just few instances of what can be addressed. Of furthest interest is the study of whether and how the cascade transfer and dissipation rates evolve with the solar distance, since this has great impact on the fundamental plasma physical processes related to the heating of the solar wind. In this talk I will present some of the results obtained by exploiting the PSP/SolO alignment data.

How to cite: Telloni, D. and the PSP/FIELDS, PSP/SWEAP, SolO/MAG and SolO/SWA/PAS team: Evolution of the MHD turbulence properties in the inner heliosphere with the PSP/SolO alignment data, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-14585,, 2021.

Simon Good, Emilia Kilpua, Matti Ala-Lahti, Adnane Osmane, Stuart Bale, and Lingling Zhao

Magnetic clouds are large-scale transient structures in the solar wind with low plasma β, low-amplitude magnetic field fluctuations, and twisted field lines with both ends often connected to the Sun. We analyse the normalised cross helicity, σc, and residual energy, σr, in magnetic clouds observed by Parker Solar Probe (PSP). In the November 2018 cloud observed at 0.25 au, a low value of σc was present in the cloud core, indicating that wave power parallel and anti-parallel to the mean field was approximately balanced, while the cloud’s outer layers displayed larger amplitude Alfvénic fluctuations with high σc values and σr ~ 0. These properties are compared and contrasted to those found in clouds observed by PSP at larger heliocentric distances. We suggest that low σc is likely a common feature of magnetic clouds given their typically closed field structure, in contrast to the generally higher σc found on the open field lines of the solar wind.

How to cite: Good, S., Kilpua, E., Ala-Lahti, M., Osmane, A., Bale, S., and Zhao, L.: Cross helicity of magnetic clouds observed by Parker Solar Probe, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-14974,, 2021.

Emanuele Papini, Antonio Cicone, Luca Franci, Mirko Piersanti, Simone Landi, Andrea Verdini, and Petr Hellinger

We present the results from a spacetime study of Hall-MHD and Hybrid-kinetic numerical simulations of decaying turbulence. By combining Fourier analysis and Multivariate Iterative Filtering (a new technique developed for the analysis of nonstationary nonlinear signals) we calculate the kω-power spectrum of magnetic, velocity, and density fluctuations at the maximum of turbulent activity. Results show that the magnetic power spectrum at sub-ion scales is formed by localized structures and/or perturbations with temporal frequencies much smaller than the ion-cyclotron frequency Ωi. Going toward smaller ion-kinetic scales, the contribution of low-medium frequency perturbations (ω < 3Ωi) to the magnetic spectrum becomes important. Our analysis clearly indicates that such low-frequency perturbations have no kinetic-Alfvén neither Ion-cyclotron origin. At higher frequencies, we clearly identify signatures of both whistler and kinetic-Alfvén wave activity. However, their energetic contribution to the turbulent cascade is negligible. We conclude that the dynamics of turbulence at sub-ion scales is mainly shaped by localized intermittent structures, with no contribution of wavelike perturbations.

How to cite: Papini, E., Cicone, A., Franci, L., Piersanti, M., Landi, S., Verdini, A., and Hellinger, P.: Sounding plasma turbulence at sub-ion scales with Fast Iterative Filtering in space and time., EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-15525,, 2021.

Andrea Verdini, Roland Grappin, Francesco Malara, Leonardo Primavera, and Luca Del Zanna

Recent measurments of Parker Solar Probe show that alfvenic fluctuations in the solar wind often appear in the form of swithcback with constant total magnetic field. Our aim is to understand if and how such fluctuations can contribute to the heating or acceleration of the solar wind, via the Parametric Instability. The intability of one dimensional Alfvénic fluctuations has been extensively studied in both homogenoeus plasma and in the expanding solar wind, less so for the two-dimensional case which is closer to expected three-dimensional nature of switchbacks. In this work we study under which condition an Alfvén wave with a two dimensional spectrum (as introduced in Primavera et al ApJ 2019) can decay in the expanding solar wind and we will present preliminary results.

How to cite: Verdini, A., Grappin, R., Malara, F., Primavera, L., and Del Zanna, L.: Parametric instability in the expanding solar wind, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-15590,, 2021.

Xingyu Zhu, Jiansen He, Daniel Verscharen, Die Duan, Christopher Owen, and Timothy Horbury

Ion cyclotron waves (ICWs) frequently occur in the solar wind and are detected by PSP within 0.3 AU (Bowen et al. 2020), by MESSENGER from 0.3 AU to 0.7 AU (Jian et al. 2010, Boardsen et al. 2015) and by STEREO at 1 AU (Jian et al. 2009; He et al. 2011). However, the relation between the wave properties and the kinetic features of different ion components (proton core, proton beam and helium) are not widely discussed in the existing literature. We statistically analyze the polarization and propagation properties of hundreds of ICW events using measurements from the Solar Orbiter spacecraft. We find three types of ICW events in terms of their occurrence and duration: clustering ICW events with long durations; sporadic ICW events immersed in a quiet background magnetic field; and ICW events alongside discontinuities. We perform an investigation of the ion velocity distribution functions (VDFs) and draw comparisons of the kinetic behavior of each ion component during intervals with and without ICWs. The plasma parameters of the different ion components are acquired by our newly developed fitting program.

How to cite: Zhu, X., He, J., Verscharen, D., Duan, D., Owen, C., and Horbury, T.: Statistical Study of ICW Events and Associated Ion Velocity Distributions in the Inner Heliosphere, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-16078,, 2021.