The Role of Viscosity in Causing the Plasma Poloidal Motion in Magnetic Clouds


An interesting phenomenon, plasma poloidal motion, has been found in many magnetic clouds (MCs), and viscosity has been proposed as a possible mechanism. However, it is not clear how significant the role of viscosity is in generating such motion. In this paper, we conduct a statistical study of the MCs detected by the Wind spacecraft during 1995–2012. It is found that, for 19% of all the studied MCs (186), the poloidal velocities of the MC plasma near the MC boundaries are well correlated with those of the corresponding ambient solar wind plasma. A non-monotonic increase from inner to outer MCs suggests that the viscosity does play a role, albeit weak, on the poloidal motion in the MC statistically. The possible dependence on the solar wind parameters is then studied in detail for the nine selected crossings, which represent the viscosity characteristic. There is an evident negative correlation between the viscosity and the density, a weak negative correlation between the viscosity and the turbulence strength, and no clear correlation between the viscosity and the temperature.

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The Astrophysical Journal



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