Gusty, gaseous flows of FIRE: Galactic winds in cosmological simulations with explicit stellar feedback

Alexander L. Muratov*, Dušan Kereš, Claude André Faucher-Giguère, Philip F. Hopkins, Eliot Quataert, Norman Murray

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

484 Scopus citations


We present an analysis of the galaxy-scale gaseous outflows from the Feedback in Realistic Environments (FIRE) simulations. This suite of hydrodynamic cosmological zoom simulations resolves formation of star-forming giant molecular clouds to z = 0, and features an explicit stellar feedback model on small scales. Our simulations reveal that high-redshift galaxies undergo bursts of star formation followed by powerful gusts of galactic outflows that eject much of the interstellar medium and temporarily suppress star formation. At low redshift, however, sufficiently massive galaxies corresponding to L* progenitors develop stable discs and switch into a continuous and quiescent mode of star formation that does not drive outflows far into the halo. Mass-loading factors for winds in L* progenitors are η ≈ 10 at high redshift, but decrease to η ≪ 1 at low redshift. Although lower values of η are expected as haloes grow in mass over time, we show that the strong suppression of outflows with decreasing redshift cannot be explained by mass evolution alone. Circumgalactic outflow velocities are variable and broadly distributed, but typically range between one and three times the circular velocity of the halo. Much of the ejected material builds a reservoir of enriched gas within the circumgalactic medium, some of which could be later recycled to fuel further star formation. However, a fraction of the gas that leaves the virial radius through galactic winds is never regained, causing most haloes with mass Mh ≤ 1012Modot; to be deficient in baryons compared to the cosmic mean by z = 0.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2691-2713
Number of pages23
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 11 2015


  • Cosmology: theory
  • Galaxies: evolution
  • Galaxies: formation
  • Stars: formation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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