In this book, the term solar dynamo refers to the complex of mechanisms that cause the magnetic phenomena in the solar atmosphere. Usually, however, that complex is broken down into three components: (1) the generation of strong, large-scale fields of periodically reversing polarity, (2) the rise of these fields to the photosphere, and (3) the processing in, spreading across, and removal from the photosphere of magnetic flux. Components (2) and (3) are discussed in Chapters 4–6; in this chapter, we concentrate on aspect (1). Even on this limited topic, there is a stream of papers, but, as Rüdiger (1994) remarked, “it is much easier to find an excellent… review about the solar dynamo… than a working model of it.”
In dynamo theory, the mean, large-scale solar magnetic field is usually taken to be the axially symmetric component of the magnetic field that can be written, without loss of generality, as the sum of a toroidal (i.e., azimuthal) component Bφ ≡ (0, Bφ, 0) and a poloidal component, which is restricted to meridional planes: Bp ≡ (Br, 0, Bθ′), where θ′ is the colatitude. The poloidal component is usually pictured as if a dipole field aligned with the rotation axis were its major component, which is a severe restriction.
All solar-cycle dynamo models rely on the differential rotation v0(r, θ′) to pull out the magnetic field into the toroidal direction, as sketched in Fig. 6.10a; about this mechanism there is no controversy.