A review of spectral anisotropy and variance anisotropy for solar wind fluctuations is given, with the discussion covering inertial range and dissipation range scales. For the inertial range, theory, simulations and observations are more or less in accord, in that fluctuation energy is found to be primarily in modes with quasi-perpendicular wavevectors (relative to a suitably defined mean magnetic field), and also that most of the fluctuation energy is in the vector components transverse to the mean field. Energy transfer in the parallel direction and the energy levels in the parallel components are both relatively weak. In the dissipation range, observations indicate that variance anisotropy tends to decrease towards isotropic levels as the electron gyroradius is approached; spectral anisotropy results are mixed. Evidence for and against wave interpretations and turbulence interpretations of these features will be discussed. We also present new simulation results concerning evolution of variance anisotropy for different classes of initial conditions, each with typical background solar wind parameters.
One contribution of 11 to a theme issue ‘Dissipation and heating in solar wind turbulence’.
- Accepted February 4, 2015.
- © 2015 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.