We consider a time-dependent linear global electrostatic toroidal fluid ion-temperature gradient (ITG) model to study the evolution of toroidal drift modes in tokamak plasmas as the equilibrium flow-shear varies with time. While we consider the ITG mode as a specific example, the results are expected to be valid for most other toroidal microinstabilities. A key result is that when there is a position in the plasma with a maximum in the instability drive (e.g. ITG), there is a transient burst of stronger growth as the flow-shear evolves through a critical value. This transient burst is expected to drive a filamentary plasma eruption, reminiscent of small-ELMs. The amplitude of the dominant linear mode is initially peaked above or below the outboard midplane, and rotates through it poloidally as the flow-shear passes through the critical value. This theoretical prediction could provide an experimental test of whether this mechanism underlies some classes of small-ELMs.
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- ballooning formalism
- Floquet modes
- small ELMs
- toroidal drift modes
The response of toroidal drift modes to profile evolution: a model for small-ELMs in tokamak plasmas?