Dispersive shock waves in the solar wind



Compressional waves in the solar wind propagating over large distances are likely to steepen into shock waves where the increase in the amplitude is balanced by dissipation. Dispersive effects caused by, e.g. Hall currents perpendicular to the ambient magnetic field can influence the generation and propagation of shock waves. In the present study the dispersion is considered weak but in time its importance can grow. When the effect of dispersion is strong enough, it can balance the nonlinear steepening of waves leading to the formation of solitons. The obtained results show that the weak dispersion will alter the amplitude and propagation speed of the shock wave. (© 2007 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim)