34th Solar Physics Division Meeting, June 2003
Session 21 Parker Lectures II
Invited, Wednesday, June 18, 2003, 5:00-6:00pm, Auditorium

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[21.01] Flares as Avalanches?

P. Charbonneau (U. Montreal)

In 1991, E.T. Lu and R. Hamilton (ApJ 380, L89) suggested that flares could be interpreted as avalanches of reconnection events in coronal magnetic structures driven to a self-organized critical state. Physical underpinning for the simple cellular automaton model they used to illustrate their idea can be readily found in the nanoflare conjecture for coronal heating championed over the past two decades by E.N. Parker (e.g., ApJ 330, 474 [1988]).

In this lecture I will give a brief overview of Lu & Hamilton's avalanche model, and describe how it can be physically interpreted in the context of Parker's nanoflare conjecture. After discussing some illustrative model results, I will focus on recent comparisons of the model's predictions with flare observations. Finally, I will discuss some recent attempts at quantitatively exploring the physical relationship between model components and the physics of magnetic reconnection.


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