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Horizontal shear instabilities in rotating stellar radiation zones: II. Effects of the full Coriolis acceleration

Abstract : Context. Stellar interiors are the seat of efficient transport of angular momentum all along their evolution. In this context, understanding the dependence of the turbulent transport triggered by the instabilities of the vertical and horizontal shears of the differential rotation in stellar radiation zones as a function of their rotation, stratification, and thermal diffusivity is mandatory. Indeed, it constitutes one of the cornerstones of the rotational transport and mixing theory, which is implemented in stellar evolution codes to predict the rotational and chemical evolutions of stars.Aims. We investigate horizontal shear instabilities in rotating stellar radiation zones by considering the full Coriolis acceleration with both the dimensionless horizontal Coriolis component f̃ and the vertical component f.Methods. We performed a linear stability analysis using linearized equations derived from the Navier-Stokes and heat transport equations in the rotating nontraditional f-plane. We considered a horizontal shear flow with a hyperbolic tangent profile as the base flow. The linear stability was analyzed numerically in wide ranges of parameters, and we performed an asymptotic analysis for large vertical wavenumbers using the Wentzel-Kramers-Brillouin-Jeffreys (WKBJ) approximation for nondiffusive and highly-diffusive fluids.Results. As in the traditional f-plane approximation, we identify two types of instabilities: the inflectional and inertial instabilities. The inflectional instability is destabilized as f̃ increases and its maximum growth rate increases significantly, while the thermal diffusivity stabilizes the inflectional instability similarly to the traditional case. The inertial instability is also strongly affected; for instance, the inertially unstable regime is also extended in the nondiffusive limit as 0 < f < 1 + f̃ 2/N2, where N is the dimensionless Brunt-Väisälä frequency. More strikingly, in the high thermal diffusivity limit, it is always inertially unstable at any colatitude θ except at the poles (i.e., 0° < θ <  180°). We also derived the critical Reynolds numbers for the inertial instability using the asymptotic dispersion relations obtained from the WKBJ analysis. Using the asymptotic and numerical results, we propose a prescription for the effective turbulent viscosities induced by the inertial and inflectional instabilities that can be possibly used in stellar evolution models. The characteristic time of this turbulence is short enough so that it is efficient to redistribute angular momentum and to mix chemicals in stellar radiation zones.
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Submitted on : Monday, February 8, 2021 - 10:16:15 PM
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J. Park, V. Prat, S. Mathis, L. Bugnet. Horizontal shear instabilities in rotating stellar radiation zones: II. Effects of the full Coriolis acceleration. Astronomy and Astrophysics - A&A, EDP Sciences, 2021, 646, pp.A64. ⟨10.1051/0004-6361/202038654⟩. ⟨cea-03135360⟩

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