A modal α2-dynamo in the limit of asymptotically small viscosity

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A spherical α2-dynamo is presented as an expansion in the free decay modes of the magnetic field. In the limit of vanishing viscosity the momentum equation yields various asymptotic expansions for the flow, depending on the precise form of the dissipation and boundary conditions applied. A new form for the dissipation is introduced that greatly simplifies this asymptotic expansion. When these expansions are substituted back into the induction equation, a set of modal amplitude equations is derived, and solved for various distributions of the α-effect. For all choices of α the solutions approach the Taylor state, but the manner in which this occurs can vary, as previously found by Soward and Jones (1983). Furthermore, as hypothesized by Malkus and Proctor (1975), but not previously demonstrated, the post-Taylor equilibration is indeed independent of the viscosity in the asymptotic limit, and depending on the choice of a may be either steady-state or oscillatory. © 1991 Gordon and Breach Science Publishers S.A.

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Geophysical & Astrophysical Fluid Dynamics