Radially extended, stratified, local models of isothermal disks

Xiaoyue Guan, Charles F. Gammie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We consider local, stratified, numerical models of isothermal accretion disks. The novel feature of our treatment is that radial extent Lx and azimuthal extent Ly satisfy H « Lx, L y « R, where H is the scale height and R is the local radius. This enables us to probe mesoscale structure in stratified thin disks. We evolve the model at several resolutions, sizes, and initial magnetic field strengths. Consistent with earlier work, we find that the saturated, turbulent state consists of a weakly magnetized disk midplane coupled to a strongly magnetized corona, with a transition at |z| ∼ 2H. The saturated α ≈ 0.01-0.02. A two-point correlation function analysis reveals that the central 4H of the disk is dominated by small-scale turbulence that is statistically similar to unstratified disk models, while the coronal magnetic fields are correlated on scales ∼ 10H. Nevertheless angular momentum transport through the corona is small. A study of magnetic field loops in the corona reveals few open field lines and predominantly toroidal loops with a characteristic distance between footpoints that is ∼ H. Finally, we find quasiperiodic oscillations with characteristic timescale ∼ 30 Ω-1 in the magnetic field energy density. These oscillations are correlated with oscillations in the mean azimuthal field; we present a phenomenological, alpha-dynamo model that captures most aspects of the oscillations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 20 2011


  • Accretion, accretion disks
  • Magnetic fields
  • Magnetohydrodynamics (MHD)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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