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**II. The Pressure Pulse Mechanism
**

B. VRŠNAK and S. LULI

´

C

Hvar Observatory, Faculty of Geodesy, Kaˇ ci´ ceva 26, HR-10000 Zagreb, Croatia

(Received 12 February 2000; accepted 11 April 2000)

Abstract. The ignition of coronal shock waves by ﬂares is investigated. It is assumed that an explo-

sive expansion of the source region caused by impulsive heating generates a fast-mode MHD blast

wave which subsequently transforms into a shock wave. The solutions of 1-D MHD equations for the

ﬂaring region and for the external region are matched at their boundary. The obtained results show

under what conditions ﬂares can ignite shock waves that excite the metric type II bursts. The heat

input rate per unit mass has to be sufﬁciently high and the preﬂare value of the plasma parameter β

in the ﬂaring region has to be larger than β

crit

0

. The critical values depend on the ﬂare dimensions

and impulsiveness. Larger and more impulsive ﬂares are more effective in generating type II bursts.

Shock waves of a higher Mach number require a higher preﬂare value of β and a more powerful

heating per unit mass. The results demonstrate why only a small fraction of ﬂares is associated with

type II bursts and why the association rate increases with the ﬂare importance.

1. Introduction

Metric type II bursts (Nelson and Melrose, 1985) reveal the propagation of fast-

mode MHD shock waves in the solar corona (Uchida, 1974). The question whether

these shocks are caused by ﬂares or fast material ejecta is the subject of numer-

ous studies (for a review, see Cliver, Webb, and Howard, 1999). Let us brieﬂy

summarize some of the observational results regarding this problem.

The majority of metric type II bursts starts at frequencies close to or below

100 MHz, several minutes after the peak of the associated microwave burst (Har-

vey, 1965; Švestka and Fritzová-Švestková, 1974). The radio emission usually

ceases at frequencies higher than 20 MHz (Nelson and Melrose, 1985). Occasion-

ally, type II bursts start in the decimetric wavelength range, and their beginning can

precede the peak of the associated microwave burst (Vršnak et al., 1995).

It is well known that there is an association between metric type II bursts and

ﬂares and that the association rate increases with the ﬂare importance (Cliver,

Webb, and Howard, 1999). Drago and Tagliaferri (1967) found a correlation be-

tween the rise times of the Hα ﬂare emission and the time delays of the associated

type II bursts. More recently, Pearson et al. (1989) have shown that a weak cor-

relation exists between the impulsiveness of hard X-ray bursts and the onset fre-

quencies and time delays of the type II bursts. Vršnak et al. (1995) have shown that

microwave bursts associated with type II bursts occurring in the dm–m wavelength

range have in average about two times higher peak ﬂuxes than ﬂares of the same

Solar Physics 196: 181–197, 2000.

© 2000 Kluwer Academic Publishers. Printed in the Netherlands.

182 B. VRŠNAK AND S. LULI

´

C

importance not associated with type II bursts. Vršnak (2000) has found a relation

between the time delay of type II bursts and the impulsiveness of the associated

microwave bursts.

Recently, Klassen et al. (1999) showed that the occurrence of a type II burst

is often preceded by a type II burst precursor, consisting of numerous impulsive

fast-drifting bursts in the decimetric wavelength range. This feature is usually

characterized by a slowly drifting high frequency edge and is associated with an

impulsive microwave and hard X-ray burst (Klassen et al., 1999).

Observations indicate that type II burst shock waves have velocities in the order

of 1000 km s

−1

and low Mach numbers, usually between 1.2 and 1.7 (Nelson

and Melrose, 1985). Similar velocities are observed in the case of chromospheric

Moreton waves spreading out from the ﬂare site (Moreton, 1960; Smith and Har-

vey, 1971). Uchida (1974) has shown that both phenomena are probably caused

by a common shock wave ignited by a ﬂare. Vršnak and Luli´ c (2000, hereafter

Paper I) have shown that such shock waves can be generated by an abrupt, but not

necessarily superalfvénic, expansion of the source region.

In Paper I the process driving the expansion of the source region was not spec-

iﬁed. However, considering the time/distance scales it was inferred that the ‘high-

frequency’ type II bursts starting in the dm–m wavelength range are most prob-

ably caused by solar ﬂares, since even the most abrupt ejections – ﬂare sprays

(Tandberg-Hanssen, Martin, and Hansen, 1980) – are not impulsive enough to cre-

ate such a type II burst. In this paper an explosive expansion of the ﬂaring volume

will be considered as a source of the shock wave. Signatures of such a ﬂare-ignited

process will be discussed and confronted with observations. Furthermore, an order

of magnitude analysis will be presented, to show under what conditions ﬂares can

ignite shock waves that excite metric type II bursts. The results can explain why

only a small fraction of ﬂares is associated with type II bursts.

2. Expansion of the Flaring Volume

2.1. THE MODEL

In the following, a 1-D model will be considered, where all quantities are uniform

in the y- and z-directions and the magnetic ﬁeld is oriented in the y-direction (Fig-

ure 1). The magnetic ﬁeld, plasma density, temperature and pressure are taken to be

uniform initially, having the values B

0

, ρ

0

, T

0

, and p

0

, respectively. Furthermore,

it will be assumed that the plasma is perfectly conducting (magnetic diffusivity

η = 0) implying that the ‘frozen-in’ condition is satisﬁed (Priest, 1982). The

initial value of the ratio of the plasma and the magnetic pressure is taken to be

β

0

= p

0

/p

B

0

1, and it is assumed that the plasma is at rest.

Let us assume that an impulsive heating of the source region begins at t = 0 and

that the heat input rate per unit volume is described by the function q(x, t ). The

FORMATION OF CORONAL MHD SHOCK WAVES, II 183

Figure 1. Deﬁnition of the ﬂaring region (shaded) and the external region: (a) before the onset of

heating; (b) after the heating had started. The magnetic ﬁeld B

i

and the density ρ

i

in the internal

region decrease due to the expansion, whereas in the external region B

e

and ρ

e

increase.

behaviour of the system is governed by the MHD equations (see Paper I) which

can be written in a 1-D situation as:

ρ

_

∂u

∂t

+u

∂u

∂x

_

= −

∂p

tot

∂x

, (1)

ρ

_

∂e

∂t

+u

∂e

∂x

_

+p

∂u

∂x

= q , (2)

∂B

∂t

+

∂(Bu)

∂x

= 0 , (3)

∂ρ

∂t

+

∂(ρu)

∂x

= 0 , (4)

p =

ρ

m

p

kT = (γ −1)ρe . (5)

Here p

tot

= p +B

2

/2µ

0

= p +p

B

is the total pressure, m

p

is the proton mass and

γ = (s +2)/s is the ratio of speciﬁc heats determined by the number of degrees of

freedom s. Furthermore, according to Figure 1, the magnetic ﬁeld and the plasma

ﬂow velocity are denoted as B = B

y

, u = u

x

, respectively.

It will be assumed that the heat is deposited only into the region between x = 0

and the marginal magnetic ﬁeld line initially located at x = x

0

, i.e. to the same

plasma element (Figure 1). The boundary at x = 0 is considered ﬁxed, whereas

the other boundary (further on simply the boundary) can move freely and its co-

ordinate and velocity will be denoted as x

t

and u

t

:

u

t

=

∂x

t

∂t

, x

t

= x

0

+x

t

= x

0

+

t

_

0

u

t

dt . (6)

The velocity u

t

will be called the expansion velocity.

184 B. VRŠNAK AND S. LULI

´

C

At any moment, the heat is released only within 0 < x < x

t

(further on ﬂaring

volume or i-region), and all the quantities describing a physical state of this volume

will be denoted by the subscript ‘i’. The expansion of the ﬂaring volume causes a

compression of the plasma in the ambient region (further on external region or

e-region – the related quantities will be denoted by the subscript ‘e’). A large am-

plitude MHD perturbation is created, spreading through the e-region. The leading

edge of the perturbation forms during the time interval 0 < t < t

m

in which the

expansion velocity increases from u = 0 to the maximum value u

m

. The spatial

proﬁle of the leading edge subsequently steepens and a shock wave forms after a

time/distance determined by the expansion velocity time proﬁle (see Paper I).

2.2. THE BEHAVIOUR OF THE INTERNAL REGION

For a provisional function q(x, t ) the evolution of the system can be determined

only numerically. In this paper a particular family of q(x, t ) functions will be

considered, allowing for an analytical description of the heated volume expansion.

In order to obtain the explicit expressions relating the heat input rate and the ex-

pansion velocity, the problem will be inverted. Instead of specifying the function

q(x, t ) and searching for the response of the system, it will be demanded that the

ﬂaring volume expands ‘uniformly’, meaning that the plasma density within the

ﬂaring volume remains uniform during the expansion. Then, the solution of the

system of Equations (1)–(5) will be found for a prescribed function u

t

, i.e. the

evolution of the system will be completely determined imposing the kinematics of

the ﬂaring volume boundary.

Since the frozen-in condition is satisﬁed (η = 0), in the 1-D situation the

conservation of magnetic ﬂux and mass (Equations (3) and (4)), together with the

imposed ‘uniform’ expansion constraint (∂ρ

i

/∂x = 0), imply that the magnetic

ﬁeld B

i

also remains uniform during the expansion (∂B

i

/∂x = 0) and one can

write:

B

i

B

0

=

ρ

i

ρ

0

=

x

0

x

t

. (7)

So, within the ﬂaring volume the magnetic pressure p

B

i

= B

2

i

/2µ

0

, normalized

with respect to the initial value p

B

0

= B

2

0

/2µ

0

= ρ

0

v

2

A

0

/2, can be expressed as

P

B

i

≡

p

B

i

p

B

0

=

_

B

i

B

0

_

2

=

_

x

0

x

t

_

2

. (8)

Going back to Equation (4) and taking into account ∂ρ

i

/∂x = 0 one ﬁnds:

1

ρ

i

∂ρ

i

∂t

= −

∂u

∂x

. (9)

Since ρ

i

does not depend on x one can write ∂u/∂x = C, where C does not depend

on x. This implies that the plasma ﬂow velocity within the ﬂaring volume (x < x

t

)

can be expressed as

FORMATION OF CORONAL MHD SHOCK WAVES, II 185

u =

x

x

t

u

t

, (10)

since it is assumed that u = 0 at x = 0.

Using Equations (6) and (10), Equation (1) can be transformed to obtain

ρ

i

∂u

t

∂t

x

x

t

= −

∂p

i

∂x

, (11)

where it was taken into account that ∂B

i

/∂x = 0 so that ∂p

B

i

/∂x = 0. Since

ρ

i

∂u

t

/∂t does not depend on x, the integration of Equation (11) with respect to x

implies that the gas pressure in the i-region is of the form p

i

= C

1

− C

2

(x/x

i

)

2

,

where C

1

and C

2

do not depend on x. Denoting the gas pressure at x = 0, at the

moment t , as p(x = 0, t ) ≡ p

0

t

and the difference of the gas pressure at x = 0 and

at x = x

t

as p

t

one ﬁnds:

p

i

= p

0

t

−p

t

_

x

x

t

_

2

. (12)

The superscript ‘0’ will be used further on to denote quantities at x = 0.

The plasma pressure p

i

at the ﬂaring volume boundary at the moment t is

p

i

(x = x

t

, t ) ≡ p

b

t

= p

0

t

− p

t

. The superscript ‘b’ will be used further on to

denote quantities at the ﬂaring volume boundary. Substituting Equation (12) into

Equation (11) one ﬁnds

ρ

i

2

∂u

t

∂t

=

p

t

x

t

, (13)

which determines the acceleration of the boundary:

∂u

t

∂t

=

2p

t

x

0

ρ

0

. (14)

Here, Equation (7) was used to eliminate ρ

i

.

Using Equations (6), (7), and (10), as well as Equation (5) with the ratio of

speciﬁc heat capacities γ =

5

3

, i.e., using e = 3p/2ρ, Equation (2) can be written

as

q =

3

2

∂p

i

∂t

+

3

2

p

i

x

t

u

t

+

3

2

∂p

i

∂x

x

x

t

u

t

+

p

i

x

t

u

t

. (15)

Taking into account Equation (12) one ﬁnds for 0 < x < x

t

q(x, t ) = q

0

t

−q

t

_

x

x

t

_

2

, (16)

where

q

0

t

=

3

2

∂p

0

t

∂t

+

5

2

p

0

t

x

t

u

t

, (17)

186 B. VRŠNAK AND S. LULI

´

C

and

q

t

=

3

2

∂p

t

∂t

+

5

2

p

t

x

t

u

t

(18)

are the rate at which the heat is deposited at x = 0 and the difference between

the heat released at x = 0 and x = x

t

, respectively. The expansion velocity u

t

is

related to p

t

by Equation (14), and x

t

is deﬁned by Equation (6). Equation (16)

shows that the heat deposited at the boundary q(x = x

t

, t ) ≡ q

b

t

= q

0

t

− q

t

can

be expressed as

q

b

t

=

3

2

∂p

b

t

∂t

+

5

2

p

b

t

x

t

u

t

. (19)

3. Results

3.1. ‘MATCHING’ OF THE INTERNAL AND EXTERNAL REGION

Fast expansion of the ﬂaring region causes a compression of the magneto-plasma

ahead the boundary (Figure 1(b)). In Paper I it was shown that starting with a

β

0

0, the gas pressure in the e-region remains much smaller than the magnetic

pressure (β

e

0). Furthermore, it was shown that the factor of compression ≡

ρ

e

/ρ

0

= B

e

/B

0

depends on the velocity of the boundary:

t

=

_

1 +

U

t

2

_

2

, (20)

where U

t

= u

t

/v

A

0

. The highest value of compression

m

= (U

m

) is related to

the ﬁnal Mach number of the shock wave as

M =

_

5 +

m

8 −2

m

m

(21)

(see Paper I).

Since the total pressure p

tot

= p+p

B

must be a continuous function, p

tot

i

(x

t

) =

p

tot

e

(x

t

) must hold at the ﬂaring volume boundary, and one can write

B

2

i

2µ

0

+p

b

t

= p

tot

e

(x

t

) ≈

B

2

e

2µ

0

, (22)

since β

e

1 is assumed. Normalizing Equation (22) with respect to the initial

magnetic pressure p

B

0

= B

2

0

/2µ

0

and using the relations B

i

/B

0

= x

0

/x

t

and

B

e

/B

0

= one ﬁnds

P

b

τ

=

2

−X

−2

τ

=

_

1 +

U

τ

2

_

4

−X

−2

τ

, (23)

FORMATION OF CORONAL MHD SHOCK WAVES, II 187

where the normalized time τ = t /t

m

and the normalized co-ordinate of the bound-

ary X

τ

= x

t

/x

0

were introduced.

Equation (6) can be written in the normalized form as

U

τ

=

∂X

τ

∂τ

, X

τ

= 1 +

1

_

τ

0

U

τ

dτ , (24)

where = t

A

/t

m

, and t

A

= x

0

/v

A

0

represents the Alfvén travel time across the

ﬂaring region. Similarly, Equation (14) can be normalized such that

P

τ

=

∂U

τ

∂τ

, (25)

where P

τ

= p

t

/p

B

0

. One can also write

T

0

τ

T

0

= X

τ

P

0

τ

β

0

, (26)

where T

0

τ

is the plasma temperature at x = 0 (further on the central temperature)

and P

0

τ

= p

0

t

/p

B

0

.

Prescribing the function U

τ

Equations (23), (24), and (25) determine P

b

τ

, X

τ

,

and P

τ

, respectively. Furthermore, P

b

τ

and P

τ

determine P

0

τ

= P

b

τ

+ P

τ

(Equation (12)). Normalizing Equations (17) and (19) with respect to the initial

magnetic ﬁeld energy density (Q

0

τ

= q

0

t

/p

B

0

and Q

b

τ

= q

b

t

/p

B

0

) one can write

Q

0

τ

=

ϕ

0

τ

t

A

=

φ

0

τ

t

m

; Q

b

τ

=

ϕ

b

τ

t

A

=

φ

b

τ

t

m

, (27)

where the dimensionless functions φ

0

τ

and φ

b

τ

read

φ

0

τ

=

3

2

∂P

0

τ

∂τ

+

5

2

P

0

τ

U

τ

X

τ

, (28)

and

φ

b

τ

=

3

2

∂P

b

τ

∂τ

+

5

2

P

b

τ

U

τ

X

τ

. (29)

The functions ϕ can be expressed as ϕ = φ. The functions ϕ

0

τ

, ϕ

b

τ

, φ

0

τ

and φ

b

τ

depend on the parameter = t

A

/t

m

and on the highest value of the expansion

velocity U

m

. Large ﬂares (large t

A

= x

0

/v

A

0

) and short-duration ﬂares (short t

m

)

have a larger . Bearing in mind that the energy release process caused by the

magnetic ﬁeld reconnection develops on a time scale larger than the Alfvén time

scale (Priest and Forbes, 1986), i.e., t

A

< t

m

, it will be assumed that < 1. Taking

as an example a very large and fast developing event characterized by x

0

10

5

km

and t

m

≈ 100 s, and using for the Alfvén velocity v

A

0

≈ 1000 km s

−1

, one ﬁnds

1.

Knowing Q

0

τ

and Q

b

τ

one can evaluate Q

τ

= Q

0

τ

− Q

b

τ

, determining the

heating in the ﬂaring volume:

188 B. VRŠNAK AND S. LULI

´

C

Q(x, τ) = Q

0

τ

−Q

τ

_

x

x

τ

_

2

(30)

(see Equation (16)). In this way the solution of the system of Equations (1)–(5) is

completed. Integrating Equation (28) over the interval 0 < x < x

τ

one ﬁnds the

rate at which the energy is released in the entire ﬂaring region:

Q

tot

(τ) = (

2

3

Q

0

τ

+

1

3

Q

b

τ

)x

t

. (31)

Using the relations x

t

= X

τ

x

0

and v

A

0

= x

0

/t

A

one ﬁnally ﬁnds

Q

tot

(τ) = v

A

0

(

2

3

ϕ

0

τ

+

1

3

ϕ

b

τ

)X

τ

≡ v

A

0

(τ) , (32)

where the introduced dimensionless function (τ) depends on the parameter , as

well as on U

m

.

3.2. AN EXAMPLE

Let us consider as an example the ﬂare whose evolution is governed by the gener-

ating function denoted as F1 in Paper I. It is deﬁned as

U = U

m

sin

2

_

π

2

τ

_

(33)

and its behaviour in the time interval 0 < τ < 1 determines the spatial proﬁle of

the leading edge of the associated blast wave.

In Figure 2 the evolution of the heating of the ﬂaring region is shown for several

values of the parameters and U

m

, illustrating properties of ﬂares developing on

different spatial/time scales and characterized by different expansion velocities. A

faster expansion (larger value of U

m

) implies a higher Mach number of the shock

wave generated by the ﬂare (see Paper I). Spatially large ﬂares (large x

0

, i.e., large

t

A

= x

0

/v

A

0

) and fast developing ﬂares (short t

m

) are characterized by a larger .

The dimensionless function (τ) deﬁned by Equation (32) is shown in Fig-

ure 2(a). The rate at which the heat is released in the ﬂaring volume can be evalu-

ated as q

tot

(τ) = p

B

0

v

A

0

(τ). Figure 2(a) indicates that the maximum value

max

and the time when it is achieved (τ

max

) primarily depend on the applied value of

U

m

. The values of

max

do not depend signiﬁcantly on the value of the parameter

. So, it can concluded that a higher value of U

m

(and thus the higher Mach num-

ber of the associated shock wave) requires more powerful heating. Furthermore,

a stronger preﬂare magnetic ﬁeld and a higher Alfvén velocity require a more

powerful heating q

tot

(τ) for a given U

m

.

The behaviour of the central temperature is shown in Figure 2(b), where β

0

=

0.1 was used to evaluate Equation (26). A lower value of β

0

would give higher

temperatures. One ﬁnds that the central temperature is higher in the case of a small

and a large U

m

. This implies that small ﬂares have to be hotter than large ﬂares in

order to generate an expansion of the same U

m

. Such behaviour is consistent with

FORMATION OF CORONAL MHD SHOCK WAVES, II 189

Figure 2. Heating of the ﬂaring region shown for different values of U

m

and = t

A

/t

m

. (a) The

dimensionless function (τ) shown for U

m

= 0.8 (thin) and U

m

= 0.4 (thick) obtained using

= 0.2 (dotted), = 0.1 (full) and = 0.01(dashed). (b) The ‘central’ temperature ratio T

0

τ

/T

0

obtained using U

m

= 0.8 (thick) and U

m

= 0.4 (thin) for = 0.05 (dotted), = 0.1 (full)

and = 0.2 (dashed). (c) The dimensionless function φ

0

(τ) shown for U

m

= 0.8 and = 0.1

(thick-full); U

m

= 0.4 and = 0.1 (dotted); U

m

= 0.4 and = 0.05 (dashed). The function φ

b

(τ)

is shown for U

m

= 0.8 and = 0.1 by the thin-full line. (d) The difference φ = φ

0

− φ

b

for the

same values of parameters as in (c).

the results shown in Figure 2(a). For a given U

m

, the total heating rate Q

tot

does

not depend signiﬁcantly on the dimensions of the ﬂare. So, the rate at which the

heat is released per unit volume is higher in small ﬂares, resulting in higher plasma

temperatures. Figure 2(b) shows that the temperature maximum is achieved after

τ = 1.

The dimensionless function φ

0

(τ) deﬁned by Equation (28) is shown in Fig-

ure 2(c). It describes the heat input rate at X = 0. The heating rate per unit volume

can be evaluated according to Equation (27) as q(τ) = (p

B

0

/t

m

)φ(τ). For the

matter of illustration, the function φ

b

(τ) (heating rate at the boundary) is also

shown for U

m

= 0.8 and = 0.1 (thin full line). In Figure 2(d) the difference

between the heating rate at X = 0 and at the boundary φ(τ) = φ

0

(τ) − φ

b

(τ)

is presented for the same values of parameters as used in Figure 2(c). One ﬁnds

that in the case of the uniform expansion considered here, the heat is released

almost uniformly across the ﬂaring volume (see the thick and thin full lines in

Figure 2(c)); comparing Figures 2(c) and 2(d) one ﬁnds that the differences φ

are much smaller than the peak value of φ. Furthermore, it is evident that the heat

release spreads from the central region towards the boundary during the process.

190 B. VRŠNAK AND S. LULI

´

C

Figure 3. (a) The highest value of the heating rate of the ﬂaring region represented by

max

as a

function of U

m

for = 1 (shaded), = 0.5 (dashed), = 0.2 (dotted) and = 0.1 (full). (b)

max

as a function of for U

m

= 0.4 (dotted), U

m

= 0.8 (full) and U

m

= 1.2 (dashed). (c) τ

max

as a function of for the same values of U

m

as used in (b). (d) The impulsiveness of the heating

imp =

max

/t

max

shown as a function of U

m

/t

m

for t

m

= 100 s and for the same values of as in

(a).

In the beginning the heating is more powerful at X = 0, whereas later it is more

powerful at the boundary.

Figure 2(c) shows that a higher value of U

m

requires a more powerful heating

per unit volume q(τ) for a given B

0

and t

m

. Furthermore, q(τ) depends on the

parameter . The maximum value of q needed to achieve a given U

m

is higher in

spatially small ﬂares (small t

A

, i.e., small ).

In Figure 3 the dependence of the highest value of the total heating rate of the

ﬂaring volume and the impulsiveness of the heating process on the parameters U

m

and is depicted.

max

is presented as a function of U

m

and in Figures 3(a) and

3(b), respectively. One ﬁnds that the value of the highest heat input rate Q

max

=

v

A

0

max

depends primarily on U

m

and v

A

0

.

Figure 3(c) shows the dependence of the time of the maximum heat input rate

τ

max

on the parameter for different values of U

m

. Figure 3(d) depicts the impul-

siveness of heating imp =

max

/τ

max

as a function of U

m

/t

m

. One ﬁnds that imp is

a monotonic function of U

m

/t

m

that does not signiﬁcantly depend on in the range

of values < 0.2. This indicates that the starting frequency and the time delay of

FORMATION OF CORONAL MHD SHOCK WAVES, II 191

the type II burst excited by a ﬂare are related primarily to the impulsiveness of the

heat input rate in the ﬂaring volume (see Figure 7 in Paper I).

3.3. CONDITIONS FOR TYPE II BURST FORMATION

3.3.1. The Plasma Parameter β

Using Equations (5) and (7), Equation (23) can be rewritten in the form

_

x

0

x

t

_

2

+β

0

x

0

x

t

T

i

T

0

=

2

, (34)

which gives

T

i

T

0

=

1

β

0

_

x

t

x

0

2

−

x

0

x

t

_

, (35)

In the following, the quantity x

t

m

= u

m

t

m

/2 will be used as an order of

magnitude estimate of the increase of the ﬂaring volume due to its expansion in

the interval 0 < t < t

m

. In the normalized form it can be expressed as X

τ=1

≡

X

m

= U

m

/2 where X

m

= x

t

m

/x

0

.

Let us now consider in more detail two extreme types of events. The ﬁrst type of

events are those satisfying the condition x

t

m

/x

0

1 (i.e., X

m

≡ x

t

m

/x

0

1).

We will call such an event the small ﬂare since the stated condition is easily

achieved for a small value of x

0

, i.e., small value of . The other extreme is an

event satisfying x

t

m

/x

0

1 (i.e., x

t

m

/x

0

≈ 1). Since X

m

= U

m

/2 one

ﬁnds that such events have to be large and fast developing (small t

m

and large x

0

,

implying large ). We will call such an event simply the large ﬂare.

In the small-ﬂare case, Equation (35) can be written in an order of magnitude

form as

β

0

≈

2

m

x

t

m

x

0

T

0

T

i

. (36)

In the large-ﬂare case, Equation (35) reduces to

β

0

≈ (

2

m

−1)

T

0

T

i

. (37)

The compression

m

is related to U

m

by Equation (20) and to the Mach number M

of the associated shock wave by Equation (21).

Equations (36) and (37) can be combined with one constraint imposed by ob-

servations. In the hottest parts of a ﬂare the temperature usually ranges between

10

7

and 10

8

K, and is rarely exceeding 10

8

K (Dennis and Schwartz, 1989; Kosugi,

1994). So, taking T

i

< 2×10

8

K, one can use the limit T

i

/T

0

< 100. In Figure 4(a)

β

0

= β

crit

0

is shown as a function of the Mach number of the associated shock wave

using T

i

/T

0

= 100. A ﬂare can generate a type II burst of a given Mach number

only if it occurs in a coronal region having β

0

above β

crit

0

(M). The large-ﬂare case,

192 B. VRŠNAK AND S. LULI

´

C

depicted by the thick line, is obtained straightforwardly using Equations (20), (21),

and (37). In the case of a small ﬂare one can approximately take x

t

m

≈ x

t

m

since

x

t

m

x

0

. Estimating x

t

m

approximately as x

t

m

≈ u

m

t

m

/2, Equation (36) can

be transformed into an order of magnitude form which reads

β

0

≈

2

U

m

2

T

0

T

i

. (38)

The results obtained using Equations (38) and taking T

i

/T

0

= 100 are shown in

Figure 4(a) by thin lines for different values of . Figure 4(a) shows that for a given

value of a higher Mach number requires a higher value of β

0

. Furthermore, it

can be concluded that for a given β

0

and M, small ﬂares (small t

A

) have to develop

faster (shorter t

m

). Finally, for the same M, a less impulsive ﬂare must occur in a

higher β

0

region.

Let us compare an extremely small ﬂare characterized by x

0

= 1000 km, with

a larger ﬂare characterized by x

0

= 10 000 km. Assuming that the impulsive heat

release in both ﬂares is lasting for t

m

= 100 s, and taking v

0

= 1000 km s

−1

one ﬁnds values of as 0.01 and 0.1, respectively. Observations of type II bursts

indicate that usually M ≥ 1.2 holds (Nelson and Melrose, 1985) which corre-

sponds to U

m

≥ 0.25 and ≥ 1.26. Using these values and taking for the ratio

of temperatures T

i

/T

0

= 100, Equation (38) gives the values β

crit

0

= 0.2 for the

smaller ﬂare and β

crit

0

= 0.02 for the larger one. In the low corona, where ﬂares

occur, β 1 is usually valid (Dulk and McLean, 1978). This implies that very

small ﬂares can produce a type II burst only under exceptional circumstances when

coronal conditions deviate from β 1.

Equations (37) and (38) show that the ﬂares producing type II bursts have to be

very hot and impulsive. Figure 4(a) demonstrates that large ﬂares can produce type

II bursts more easily, i.e., the critical values are more convenient for the coronal

conditions. Furthermore, one ﬁnds that larger and more impulsive ﬂares can gen-

erate shock waves of higher Mach numbers, and thus the type II bursts of higher

starting frequencies and shorter onset time delays.

3.3.2. Shear of the Preﬂare Magnetic Field

Let us consider another aspect of Equation (23). The heat release rate per unit

mass can be related to the heat release rate per unit volume q as q = ρ

i

.

Applying Equation (7) this relation can be written as q = ρ

0

x

0

/x

t

. Substituting

this expression into Equation (19) one ﬁnds

b

ρ

0

=

3

2

∂p

b

t

∂t

x

t

x

0

+

5

2

p

b

t

x

0

u

t

. (39)

In the small-ﬂare case (x

t

m

≈ x

t

m

) Equation (39) can be written in an order-

of-magnitude form expressing the average heat release rate per unit mass in the

interval 0 < t < t

m

as

b

≈

p

b

m

u

m

ρ

0

x

0

, (40)

FORMATION OF CORONAL MHD SHOCK WAVES, II 193

Figure 4. The lower limit of (a) the preﬂare value of the plasma parameter β

0

; (b) the total heat

released per unit mass; (c) the critical value of the shear ϑ. The large-ﬂare case is depicted by the

thick line and the small-ﬂare cases are shown by thin lines denoted by the applied values of . The

two dotted thick vertical lines represent the Mach number range inferred from observations and the

thick vertical line shows the Mach number corresponding to U

m

= 1, i.e., u

m

= v

A

0

.

where p

b

m

is the highest pressure attained at the ﬂaring volume boundary. Equa-

tion (40) was obtained replacing x

t

, p

b

t

, and u

t

in Equation (39) by the average

values x

t

, p

b

t

, and u

t

, respectively. Then, we used the approximations ∂p

b

t

/∂t ≈

p

b

m

/t

m

, x

t

≈ x

t

m

/2, x

t

m

≈ u

t

t

m

, u

t

≈ u

m

/2, and p

b

t

≈ p

b

m

/2.

When the condition x

t

m

≈ x

t

m

is satisﬁed, Equation (23) can be written

approximately as

P

b

m

≈

2

, (41)

where P

b

m

= p

b

m

/p

B

0

. Multiplying Equation (40) by t

m

ρ

0

/p

B

0

and substituting P

b

m

from Equation (41), the total heat (E

b

=

b

t

m

) liberated per unit mass at the ﬂaring

volume boundary during t

m

can be expressed in the normalized form as

194 B. VRŠNAK AND S. LULI

´

C

E

b

E

B

0

≈

2

U

m

, (42)

where E

B

0

= p

B

0

/ρ

0

is the magnetic energy associated with B

0

that is contained

in an unit plasma mass element. The dependence of E

b

/E

B

0

on U

m

is shown in

Figure 4(b) for different values of .

Let us presume that the heat is liberated in situ as a part of the energy release

process causing the ﬂare. This means that it is provided by the preﬂare magnetic

ﬁeld component associated with electric currents, i.e., with the stored free energy.

Denoting this component of the magnetic ﬁeld as B

z

, the ratio B

z

/B

0

can be related

to the total heat released per unit mass during the time t

m

as (B

z

/B

0

)

2

= E

b

/E

B

0

.

On the other hand, one can express the ratio B

z

/B

0

introducing the shear angle ϑ

as B

z

/B

0

= tan ϑ. Equation (42) then implies

ϑ > arctan

_

_

U

m

_

, (43)

since Equation (16) implies that E

0

> E

b

.

The dependence of the lower limit of the shear angle ϑ on the Mach number of

the shock wave as determined by Equation (43) for the small-ﬂare case is presented

in Figure 4(c) by the thin lines. Assuming that the shear angle ϑ is related to the

shear of the photospheric magnetic ﬁeld, Figure 4c indicates that for M ≥ 1.2

small ﬂares must occur in regions of extremely large shear. Bearing in mind that

there is also a non-thermal component of the energy release, the critical values are

even higher.

When x

t

m

/x

0

1 (large ﬂare) Equation (19) can be written in an order of

magnitude form as

b

≈

3

2

p

b

m

t

m

. (44)

For x

t

m

/x

0

1 Equation (23) can be approximately written as

P

b

m

≈

2

−1 . (45)

Following the same procedure as in deriving Equation (43) one ﬁnds:

ϑ > arctan

_

1.5(

2

−1) . (46)

Equation (46) gives a lower limit of the shear ranging from ϑ > 45

◦

for M = 1.2

to ϑ > 70

◦

for M = 2. The result given by Equation (46) is shown in Figure 4(c)

by the thick line. Figure 4(c) indicates that larger ﬂares are more effective in

generating perturbations that cause type II radio bursts than the smaller ones.

FORMATION OF CORONAL MHD SHOCK WAVES, II 195

4. Discussion and Conclusion

The energy released in solar ﬂares is provided by free magnetic energy accumu-

lated in the non-potential preﬂare magnetic ﬁeld structure. It can be presumed that

the energy is liberated by the fast reconnection of the magnetic ﬁeld, proceeding

at some 10% of the Alfvén velocity (Priest and Forbes, 1986). The heat needed

for the ﬂaring volume expansion that generates the blast can be released by two

mechanisms. It can be liberated in situ by the reconnection process itself (Vrš-

nak, 1989), simultaneously with the non-thermal component. This is sometimes

observed as a very hot, hard X-ray emitting plasma, at the summits of ﬂaring

loops (Kosugi, 1994). The other possible mechanism is the thermalization of the

accelerated particles. In this case the blast wave ignition should take place in lower

layers of the solar atmosphere (Karlický and Odstrˇ cil, 1994). In both cases one can

expect that the heat release (q

tot

(t )) is similar to the hard X-ray or microwave burst.

The back-extrapolations of the type II emission lanes indicate that the blast is

ignited close to the peak of an impulsive microwave and hard X-ray burst (Vrš-

nak et al., 1995). Simultaneously, numerous fast-drifting bursts occur in the dm-

m wavelength range, forming a type II burst precursor (Klassen et al., 1999).

The analysis presented in this paper shows that the highest heat input rate oc-

curs somewhat earlier than the maximum expansion velocity is achieved (Fig-

ure 3(c)). Inspecting the examples shown in Figure 6 in Paper I, one ﬁnds that

back-extrapolations of the synthesized type II burst harmonic lanes point to the

segment of the ‘precursor’ corresponding to the time of the most powerful heating.

Assuming that the hard X-ray and microwave bursts reveal processes that also pro-

vide the plasma heating, one ﬁnds a good correspondence between the observations

and the model.

Taking as an example the generating function deﬁned by Equation (33) it was

shown that the average acceleration U

m

/t

m

is higher for a higher impulsiveness

of the heat input rate Q

max

/τ

max

(Figure 3(d)). This means that the starting fre-

quencies and time delays of type II bursts should depend on the energy release

impulsiveness (see Figure 7 in Paper I). Such a dependence was found by Pearson

et al. (1989) for hard X-ray bursts and by Vršnak (2000) for microwave bursts.

Two conditions for the type II burst onset were inferred in Section 3.3. Firstly,

the preﬂare value of the parameter β

0

has to be above some critical value, as shown

by Equations (37) and (38). The critical value is higher for smaller and less im-

pulsive ﬂares. For example a ﬂare characterized by = 0.1 can generate a shock

wave of the Mach number M = 1.2 only if it occurs in a β

0

> 0.02 region. Such a

value of the parameter is a characteristic of e.g., a ﬂare in a v

A

0

= 1000 km s

−1

environment, developing on the time scale of t

m

= 100 s and having the length

scale of x

0

= 10

4

km. A lower value of (e.g., a longer time scale or a smaller

length scale) implies a higher necessary value of β

0

. Similarly, a higher value of M

requires a higher β

0

or a larger .

196 B. VRŠNAK AND S. LULI

´

C

Secondly, the heat released per unit mass (E) must be sufﬁciently high (Fig-

ure 4(b)). It has to be at least several times higher than the magnetic ﬁeld energy

contained in an unit mass plasma element. The ratio is higher for smaller and less

impulsive ﬂares (Figure 4(b)). This also implies that such ﬂares have to be hotter

considering the same value of B

0

(Figure 2(b)). Furthermore, if the heat is produced

in situ, a higher value of E requires that a larger amount of the free magnetic ﬁeld

energy is stored in an unit mass. So, the shear of the magnetic ﬁeld has to be larger

in smaller and less impulsive ﬂares.

The inferred conditions for the type II burst occurrence can be confronted with

observations analysing well observed events like in Aurass et al. (1999). The com-

parison of the two events presented there shows that the smaller 1N/C4.7 ﬂare

(named E2) was associated with a type II burst, whereas the larger 2B/M4.4 ﬂare

(named E1) was not. The event E1 took place in a region characterized by a modest

shear of only 40

◦

–50

◦

, whereas the event E2 occurred in a region of a strong shear

of 70

◦

–80

◦

. This is consistent with the conditions given by Equations (43) and

(46) and the results presented in Figure 4(c). A much stronger shear in the case of

the event E2 provided a larger amount of the stored energy density, i.e., a higher

value of E was provided, although the magnetic ﬁeld was somewhat weaker than

in the event E1. Furthermore, it was estimated that although the ﬂare E1 released

about ten times more energy during the non-thermal energy release phase, the rate

at which it was released per unit mass was more than four times higher in the ﬂare

E2 since it was released in a smaller volume and in a shorter time.

Regarding the condition on β

0

let us note that in some cases homologous ﬂaring

can be essential for type II burst formation. The ﬁrst ﬂare in the sequence causes

an increase of the coronal density due to the ‘evaporation’ process, so that the next

ﬂare occurs in a higher β environment (Strong et al., 1984). So, it is possible that

the ﬁrst of the two successive ﬂares in the same active region is not associated with

a type II burst, whereas the second one is. Such an effect can presumably explain

the apparent contradictions found by Cliver, Webb, and Howard (1999) in a critical

re-examination of the ‘Alfvén velocity condition’. It was demonstrated there that

some of ﬂares occurring successively in the same active region produced type II

bursts and some did not. They concluded that since the Alfvén velocity cannot

change signiﬁcantly within few hours, the type II burst excitation by a ﬂare can not

depend critically on the value of the Alfvén velocity. However, the value of β

0

can

change easily due to the ‘evaporation’ process, changing the conditions for type II

burst occurrence.

Finally, let us summarize the conditions favourable for the ﬂare-ignited shock

wave formation:

– a relatively high preﬂare plasma β environment, characterized by low Alfvén

velocity;

– a highly sheared preﬂare magnetic ﬁeld structure;

FORMATION OF CORONAL MHD SHOCK WAVES, II 197

– a preﬂare state that provides a fast developing instability which can drive the

energy release process on a time scale comparable with the Alfvén travel time and

which is efﬁcient in releasing the heat;

– a large spatial extent of the unstable magnetic structure.

The variety of necessary conditions for the shock wave formation may explain

why only a small fraction of ﬂares is associated with type II bursts. Even large

ﬂares are not always associated with type II bursts since some of the necessary

conditions may not be satisﬁed. The estimates presented in Section 3.3. explain

the tendency that the association rate of type II bursts increases with the ﬂare

importance: the criteria are less restrictive for larger ﬂares. Finally the presented

analysis demonstrates why type II bursts are characterized by low Mach numbers.

A large Mach number would require an extremely powerful heating, causing an

unreasonably large temperature increase.

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