Coupled dynamics of Earth's geomagnetic westward drift and inner core super-rotation

Abstract : This PhD work focuses on the rotational dynamics of the coupled inner core - outercore - mantle system. The conservation of the angular momentum our coupled Earth model indeed involves two direct electromagnetic torques at the fluid core boundaries and a remote gravitational torque between the inner core and the mantle. The rotational dynamics is described by four typical shears and studied in convective numerical simulations of the geodynamo which are able to reproduce the main characteristics of the geomagnetic field and its secular variation. This secular variation is mainly embodied by the westward drift of magnetic flux patches at the CMB, concentrated on the equator of the Atlantic hemisphere, and is well documented for the last four centuries. We provide constrains on the inner core differential rotation by expressing its link to the geomagnetic westward drift. This is performed through the formulation and the validation of dynamical electromagnetic torque models, which are then introduced in the conservation of the angular momentum of the system. In the long-term state, the global shear in the fluid outer core is distributed between the westward drift and the differential rotation of the inner core, in proportions controlled by the state of couplings. As a present day estimate of this shear is close to the observed westward drift, we conclude there is no differential rotation of the inner core on time-average. In the time-dependent state, we observed that the strength of gravitational coupling is the dominant parameter. This places limit on the decadal fluctuations of the inner core differential rotation, which should not exceed a few hundredths of degree per year
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Guillaume Pichon. Coupled dynamics of Earth's geomagnetic westward drift and inner core super-rotation. Earth Sciences. Université Sorbonne Paris Cité, 2017. English. ⟨NNT : 2017USPCC271⟩. ⟨tel-02169714⟩

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