Recent experimental observations at JET show evidence of reduced ion temperature profile stiffness. An extensive set of nonlinear gyrokinetic simulations are performed based on the experimental discharges, investigating the physical mechanism behind the observations. The impact on the ion heat flux of various parameters that differ within the data-set are explored. These parameters include the safety factor, magnetic shear, toroidal flow shear, effect of rotation on the magnetohydrodynamic equilibrium, R/L-n, beta(e), Z(eff), T-e/T-i, and the fast-particle content. While previously hypothesized to be an important factor in the stiffness reduction, the combined effect of toroidal flow shear and low magnetic shear is not predicted by the simulations to lead to a significant reduction in ion heat flux, due both to an insufficient magnitude of flow shear and significant parallel velocity gradient destabilization. It is however found that nonlinear electromagnetic effects due to both thermal and fast-particle pressure gradients, even at low beta(e), can significantly reduce the ion heat flux, and is a key factor in explaining the experimental observations. A total of four discharges are examined, at both inner and outer radii. For all cases studied, the simulated and experimental ion heat flux values agree within reasonable variations of input parameters around the experimental uncertainties.

}, isbn = {0029-5515; 1741-4326}, doi = {10.1088/0029-5515/54/2/023008}, author = {Citrin, J. and Jenko, F. and Mantica, P. and Told, D. and Bourdelle, C. and Dumont, R. and J. Garcia and Haverkort, J. W. and Hogeweij, G. M. D. and Johnson, T. and M. J. Pueschel} }