Skip to main content
eScholarship
Open Access Publications from the University of California

ZOMBIE VORTEX INSTABILITY. II. THRESHOLDS to TRIGGER INSTABILITY and the PROPERTIES of ZOMBIE TURBULENCE in the DEAD ZONES of PROTOPLANETARY DISKS

  • Author(s): Marcus, PS
  • Pei, S
  • Jiang, CH
  • Barranco, JA
  • et al.

Published Web Location

http://doi.org/10.3847/1538-4357/833/2/148
No data is associated with this publication.
Abstract

© 2016. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved. In Zombie Vortex Instability (ZVI), perturbations excite critical layers in stratified, rotating shear flow (as in protoplanetary disks (PPDs)), causing them to generate vortex layers, which roll up into anticyclonic zombie vortices and cyclonic vortex sheets. The process is self-sustaining as zombie vortices perturb new critical layers, spawning a next generation of zombie vortices. Here, we focus on two issues: the minimum threshold of perturbations that trigger self-sustaining vortex generation, and the properties of the late-time zombie turbulence on large and small scales. The critical parameter that determines whether ZVI is triggered is the magnitude of the vorticity on the small scales (and not velocity); the minimum Rossby number needed for instability is Rocrit∼ 0.2 for β ≡ N/Ω = 2, where N is the Brunt-Väisälä frequency. While the threshold is set by vorticity, it is useful to infer a criterion on the Mach number; for Kolmogorov noise, the critical Mach number scales with Reynolds number: Macrit∼ RocritRe-1/2. In PPDs, this is Macrit∼ 10-6. On large scales, zombie turbulence is characterized by anticyclones and cyclonic sheets with typical Rossby number ∼0.3. The spacing of the cyclonic sheets and anticyclones appears to have a "memory" of the spacing of the critical layers. On small scales, zombie turbulence has no memory of the initial conditions and has a Kolmogorov-like energy spectrum. While our earlier work was in the limit of uniform stratification, we have demonstrated that ZVI works for non-uniform Brunt-Väisälä frequency profiles that may be found in PPDs.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC Academic Senate's Open Access Policy. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Item not freely available? Link broken?
Report a problem accessing this item