Paul Charbonneau seeks to model the sun’s cycle of magnetic activity, which will lead to a better understanding of the impacts of such activity on the environment and the communications infrastructure. His work has led to a new global simulation code called EULAG.
My research consists of modeling the sun’s cycle of magnetic activity, mainly via global numerical simulations of solar convection in the magnetohydrodynamic regime. The majority of these simulations are conducted using Compute Canada resources. Our innovative numerical algorithms have allowed us to produce regular magnetic cycles that in many respects resemble those observed on the sun. They also allow us to measure the solar interior’s response to the development of this cycle, particularly with regard to changes to the internal rotation profile and the convective energy transport. This work could help us better grasp the physical processes controlling the characteristics of magnetic cycles, thereby making it possible to better understand and quantify their potential impact on the geospatial environment and the earth’s atmosphere. These impacts can be particularly important in high geomagnetic latitudes, leaving Canada particularly vulnerable to problems with its communications infrastructure. Massively parallel supercomputers are vital for performing these types of simulations, which require fine-mesh grids and long time integrations due to the extreme disparity between the spatial and temporal scales that characterize the phenomena under study.