A Linear Model for Inertial Modes in a Differentially Rotating Sun

Jishnu Bhattacharya, Chris S. Hanson, Shravan M. Hanasoge, Katepalli R. Sreenivasan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Inertial wave modes in the Sun are of interest owing to their potential to reveal new insight into the solar interior. These predominantly retrograde-propagating modes in the solar subsurface appear to deviate from the thin-shell Rossby-Haurwitz model at high azimuthal orders. We present new measurements of sectoral inertial modes at m > 15 where the modes appear to become progressively less retrograde compared to the canonical Rossby-Haurwitz dispersion relation in a corotating frame. We use a spectral eigenvalue solver to compute the spectrum of solar inertial modes in the presence of differential rotation. Focussing specifically on equatorial Rossby modes, we find that the numerically obtained mode frequencies lie along distinct ridges, one of which lies strikingly close to the observed mode frequencies in the Sun. We also find that the n = 0 ridge is deflected strongly in the retrograde direction. This suggests that the solar measurements may not correspond to the fundamental n = 0 Rossby-Haurwitz solutions as was initially suspected, but to those for a higher n. The numerically obtained eigenfunctions also appear to sit deep within the convection zone—unlike those for the n = 0 modes—which differs substantially from solar measurements and complicates inference.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number55
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 1 2024

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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