Effects of plasma current on nonlinear interactions of ITG turbulence, zonal flows and geodesic acoustic modes
The mutual interactions of ion temperature gradient (ITG) driven modes, zonal flows and geodesic acoustic modes (GAM) in tokamak plasmas are investigated using a global nonlinear gyrokinetic formulation with totally unconstrained evolution of temperature gradient and profile. A series of numerical simulations with the same initial temperature and density profile specifications is performed using a sequence of ideal MHD equilibria differing only in the value of the total plasma current, in particular with identical magnetic shear profiles and shapes of magnetic surfaces. On top of a bursty or quasi-steady state behaviour the zonal flows oscillate at the GAM frequency. The amplitude of these oscillations increases with the value of the safety factor q, resulting in a less effective suppression of ITG turbulence by zonal flows at a lower plasma current. The turbulence-driven volume-averaged radial heat transport is found to scale inversely with the total plasma current.