Fitting the results of linear normal-mode analysis of the solar five-minute oscillations to the observed κ – ω diagram selects a class of models of the Sun’s envelope. It is a property of all the models in this class that their convection zones are too deep to permit substantial transmission of internal g modes of degree 20 or more. This is in apparent conflict with Hill and Caudell’s (1979) claim to have detected such modes in the photosphere.
A proposal to resolve the conflict was made by Rosenwald and Hill (1980). They pointed out that despite the impressive agreement between linearized theory and observation, nonlinear phenomena in the solar atmosphere might influence the eigenfrequencies considerably. In particular, they suggested that a correct nonlinear analysis could predict a shallow convection zone. This paper is an enquiry into whether their hypothesis is plausible.
We construct κ – ω diagrams assuming that the modes suffer local nonlinear distortions in the atmosphere that are insensitive to the amplitude of oscillation over the range of amplitudes that are observed. The effect of the nonlinearities on the eigenfrequencies is parameterized in a simple way. Taking a class of simple analytical models of the Sun's envelope, we compute the linear eigenfrequencies of one model and show that no other model can be found whose nonlinear eigenfrequencies agree with them. We show also that the nonlinear eigenfrequencies of a particular solar model with a shallow eonvective zone, computed with more realistic physics, cannot be made to agree with observation. We conclude, therefore, that the hypothesis of Rosenwald and Hill is unlikely to be correct.