Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Scaling Tidal Dissipation Simulations

Scaling laws to understand tidal dissipation in fluid planetary regions and stars I - Rotation, stratification and thermal diffusivity


Auclair-Desrotour et al


Tidal dissipation in planets and stars is one of the key physical mechanisms driving the evolution of star-planet and planet-moon systems. Several signatures of its action are observed in planetary systems thanks to their orbital architecture and the rotational state of their components. Tidal dissipation inside the fluid layers of celestial bodies are intrinsically linked to the dynamics and the physical properties of the latter. This complex dependence must be characterized. We compute the tidal kinetic energy dissipated by viscous friction and thermal diffusion in a rotating local fluid Cartesian section of a star/planet/moon submitted to a periodic tidal forcing. The properties of tidal gravito-inertial waves excited by the perturbation are derived analytically as explicit functions of the tidal frequency and local fluid parameters (i.e. the rotation, the buoyancy frequency characterizing the entropy stratification, viscous and thermal diffusivities) for periodic normal modes. The sensitivity of the resulting possibly highly resonant dissipation frequency-spectra to a control parameter of the system is either important or negligible depending on the position in the regime diagram relevant for planetary and stellar interiors. For corresponding asymptotic behaviors of tidal gravito-inertial waves dissipated by viscous friction and thermal diffusion, scaling laws for the frequencies, number, width, height and contrast with the non-resonant background of resonances are derived to quantify these variations. We characterize the strong impact of the internal physics and dynamics of fluid planetary layers and stars on the dissipation of tidal kinetic energy in their bulk. We point out the key control parameters that really play a role and demonstrate how it is now necessary to develop ab-initio modeling for tidal dissipation in celestial bodies.

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