On the ion-inertial-range density-power spectra in solar wind turbulence
A model-independent first-principle first-order investigation of the shape of turbulent density-power spectra in the ion-inertial range of the solar wind at 1 AU is presented. Demagnetised ions in the ion-inertial range of quasi-neutral plasmas respond to Kolmogorov (K) or Iroshnikov–Kraichnan (IK) inertial-range velocity–turbulence power spectra via the spectrum of the velocity–turbulence-related random-mean-square induction–electric field. Maintenance of electrical quasi-neutrality by the ions causes deformations in the power spectral density of the turbulent density fluctuations. Assuming inertial-range K (IK) spectra in solar wind velocity turbulence and referring to observations of density-power spectra suggest that the occasionally observed scale-limited bumps in the density-power spectrum may be traced back to the electric ion response. Magnetic power spectra react passively to the density spectrum by warranting pressure balance. This approach still neglects contribution of Hall currents and is restricted to the ion-inertial-range scale. While both density and magnetic turbulence spectra in the affected range of ion-inertial scales deviate from K or IK power law shapes, the velocity turbulence preserves its inertial-range shape in the process to which spectral advection turns out to be secondary but may become observable under special external conditions. One such case observed by WIND is analysed. We discuss various aspects of this effect, including the affected wave-number scale range, dependence on the angle between mean flow velocity and wave numbers, and, for a radially expanding solar wind flow, assuming adiabatic expansion at fast solar wind speeds and a Parker dependence of the solar wind magnetic field on radius, also the presumable limitations on the radial location of the turbulent source region.