Turbulent density and pressure fluctuations in the stratified intracluster medium

Rajsekhar Mohapatra*, Christoph Federrath*, Prateek Sharma*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    27 Citations (Scopus)


    Turbulent gas motions are observed in the intracluster medium (ICM). The ICM is density-stratified, with the gas density being highest at the centre of the cluster and decreasing radially outwards. As a result of this, Kolmogorov (homogeneous, isotropic) turbulence theory does not apply to the ICM. The gas motions are instead explained by anisotropic stratified turbulence, with the stratification quantified by the perpendicular Froude number (FrT). These turbulent motions are associated with density and pressure fluctuations, which manifest as perturbations in X-ray surface brightness maps of the ICM and as thermal Sunyaev-Zeldovich effect (SZ) fluctuations, respectively. In order to advance our understanding of the relations between these fluctuations and the turbulent gas velocities, we have conducted 100 high-resolution hydrodynamic simulations of stratified turbulence (2562 × 384-10242 × 1536 resolution elements), in which we scan the parameter space of subsonic rms Mach number (M), FrT, and the ratio of entropy and pressure scale heights (RPS = HP/HS), relevant to the ICM. We develop a new scaling relation between the standard deviation of logarithmic density fluctuations (σs, where s = ln (ρρ), M, and FrT, which covers both the strongly stratified (FrT 1) and weakly stratified (FrT ≫ 1) turbulence regimes: σs2= (1+b2M4+0.10/(Frperp +0.25Frperp)2 M2RPS), where b ∼1/3 for solenoidal turbulence driving studied here. We further find that logarithmic pressure fluctuations σ(ln P/ < P >) are independent of stratification and scale according to the relation σ(P)2=ln (1+b2γ2M4, where P=P P and γis the adiabatic index of the gas. We have tested these scaling relations to be valid over the parameter ranges M = 0.01-0.40, FrT = 0.04-10.0, and RPS = 0.33-2.33.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)5072-5087
    Number of pages16
    JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2021


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