Browsing by Subject "RECONNECTION"

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  • Juusola, Liisa; Pfau-Kempf, Yann; Ganse, Urs; Battarbee, Markus; Brito, Thiago; Grandin, Maxime; Turc, Lucile; Palmroth, Minna (2018)
    The origin of the flapping motions of the current sheet in the Earth's magnetotail is one of the most interesting questions of magnetospheric dynamics yet to be solved. We have used a polar plane simulation from the global hybrid-Vlasov model Vlasiator to study the characteristics and source of current sheet flapping in the center of the magnetotail. The characteristics of the simulated signatures agree with observations reported in the literature. The flapping is initiated by a hemispherically asymmetric magnetopause perturbation, created by subsolar magnetopause reconnection, that is capable of displacing the tail current sheet from its nominal position. The current sheet displacement propagates downtail at the same pace as the driving magnetopause perturbation. The initial current sheet displacement launches a standing magnetosonic wave within the tail resonance cavity. The travel time of the wave within the local cavity determines the period of the subsequent flapping signatures. Compression of the tail lobes due to added flux affects the cross-sectional width of the resonance cavity as well as the magnetosonic speed within the cavity. These in turn modify the wave travel time and flapping period. The compression of the resonance cavity may also provide additional energy to the standing wave, which may lead to strengthening of the flapping signature. It may be possible that the suggested mechanism could act as a source of kink-like waves that have been observed to be emitted from the center of the tail and to propagate toward the dawn and dusk flanks.
  • Juusola, Liisa; Hoilijoki, Sanni; Pfau-Kempf, Yann; Ganse, Urs; Järvinen, Riku; Battarbee, Markus; Kilpua, Emilia; Turc, Lucile; Palmroth, Minna (2018)
    Fast plasma flows produced as outflow jets from reconnection sites or X lines are a key feature of the dynamics in the Earth's magnetosphere. We have used a polar plane simulation of the hybrid-Vlasov model Vlasiator, driven by steady southward interplanetary magnetic field and fast solar wind, to study fast plasma sheet ion flows and related magnetic field structures in the Earth's magnetotail. In the simulation, lobe reconnection starts to produce fast flows after the increasing pressure in the lobes has caused the plasma sheet to thin sufficiently. The characteristics of the earthward and tailward fast flows and embedded magnetic field structures produced by multi-point tail reconnection are in general agreement with spacecraft measurements reported in the literature. The structuring of the flows is caused by internal processes: interactions between major X points determine the earthward or tailward direction of the flow, while interactions between minor X points, associated with leading edges of magnetic islands carried by the flow, induce local minima and maxima in the flow speed. Earthward moving flows are stopped and diverted duskward in an oscillatory (bouncing) manner at the transition region between tail-like and dipolar magnetic fields. Increasing and decreasing dynamic pressure of the flows causes the transition region to shift earthward and tailward, respectively. The leading edge of the train of earthward flow bursts is associated with an earthward propagating dipolarization front, while the leading edge of the train of tailward flow bursts is associated with a tailward propagating plasmoid. The impact of the dipolarization front with the dipole field causes magnetic field variations in the Pi2 range. Major X points can move either earthward or tailward, although tailward motion is more common. They are generally not advected by the ambient flow. Instead, their velocity is better described by local parameters, such that an X point moves in the direction of increasing reconnection electric field strength. Our results indicate that ion kinetics might be sufficient to describe the behavior of plasma sheet bulk ion flows produced by tail reconnection in global near-Earth simulations.
  • Grandin, Maxime; Battarbee, Markus; Osmane, Adnane; Ganse, Urs; Pfau-Kempf, Yann; Turc, Lucile; Brito, Thiago; Koskela, Tuomas; Dubart, Maxime; Palmroth, Minna (2019)
    Particle precipitation plays a key role in the coupling of the terrestrial magnetosphere and ionosphere by modifying the upper atmospheric conductivity and chemistry, driving field-aligned currents, and producing aurora. Yet quantitative observations of precipitating fluxes are limited, since ground-based instruments can only provide indirect measurements of precipitation, while particle telescopes aboard spacecraft merely enable point-like in situ observations with an inherently coarse time resolution above a given location. Further, orbit timescales generally prevent the analysis of whole events. On the other hand, global magnetospheric simulations can provide estimations of particle precipitation with a global view and higher time resolution. We present the first results of auroral (similar to 1-30 keV) proton precipitation estimation using the Vlasiator global hybrid-Vlasov model in a noon-midnight meridional plane simulation driven by steady solar wind with a southward interplanetary magnetic field. We first calculate the bounce loss-cone angle value at selected locations in the simulated nightside magnetosphere. Then, using the velocity distribution function representation of the proton population at those selected points, we study the population inside the loss cone. This enables the estimation of differential precipitating number fluxes as would be measured by a particle detector aboard a low-Earth-orbiting (LEO) spacecraft. The obtained differential flux values are in agreement with a well-established empirical model in the midnight sector, as are the integral energy flux and mean precipitating energy. We discuss the time evolution of the precipitation parameters derived in this manner in the global context of nightside magnetospheric activity in this simulation, and we find in particular that precipitation bursts of
  • Grandin, Maxime; Turc, Lucile; Battarbee, Markus; Ganse, Urs; Johlander, Andreas; Pfau-Kempf, Yann; Dubart, Maxime; Palmroth, Minna (2020)
    Particle precipitation is a central aspect of space weather, as it strongly couples the magnetosphere and the ionosphere and can be responsible for radio signal disruption at high latitudes. We present the first hybrid-Vlasov simulations of proton precipitation in the polar cusps. We use two runs from the Vlasiator model to compare cusp proton precipitation fluxes during southward and northward interplanetary magnetic field (IMF) driving. The simulations reproduce well-known features of cusp precipitation, such as a reverse dispersion of precipitating proton energies, with proton energies increasing with increasing geomagnetic latitude under northward IMF driving, and a nonreversed dispersion under southward IMF driving. The cusp is also found more polewards in the northward IMF simulation than in the southward IMF simulation. In addition, we find that the bursty precipitation during southward IMF driving is associated with the transit of flux transfer events in the vicinity of the cusp. In the northward IMF simulation, dual lobe reconnection takes place. As a consequence, in addition to the high-latitude precipitation spot associated with the lobe reconnection from the same hemisphere, we observe lower-latitude precipitating protons which originate from the opposite hemisphere's lobe reconnection site. The proton velocity distribution functions along the newly closed dayside magnetic field lines exhibit multiple proton beams travelling parallel and antiparallel to the magnetic field direction, which is consistent with previously reported observations with the Cluster spacecraft. In both runs, clear electromagnetic ion cyclotron waves are generated in the cusps and might further increase the calculated precipitating fluxes by scattering protons to the loss cone in the low-altitude cusp. Global kinetic simulations can improve the understanding of space weather by providing a detailed physical description of the entire near-Earth space and its internal couplings.
  • Järvinen, R.; Vainio, R.; Palmroth, M.; Juusola, L.; Hoilijoki, S.; Pfau-Kempf, Y.; Ganse, U.; Turc, L.; von Alfthan, S. (2018)
    We report ion acceleration by flux transfer events in the terrestrial magnetosheath in a global two-dimensional hybrid-Vlasov polar plane simulation of Earth's solar wind interaction. In the model we find that propagating flux transfer events created in magnetic reconnection at the dayside magnetopause drive fast-mode bow waves in the magnetosheath, which accelerate ions in the shocked solar wind flow. The acceleration at the bow waves is caused by a shock drift-like acceleration process under stationary solar wind and interplanetary magnetic field upstream conditions. Thus, the energization is not externally driven but results from plasma dynamics within the magnetosheath. Energetic proton populations reach the energy of 30 keV, and their velocity distributions resemble time-energy dispersive ion injections observed by the Cluster spacecraft in the magnetosheath.
  • Lynch, Benjamin J.; Palmerio, Erika; DeVore, C. Richard; Kazachenko, Maria D.; Dahlin, Joel T.; Pomoell, Jens; Kilpua, Emilia K. J. (2021)
    We present observations and modeling of the magnetic field configuration, morphology, and dynamics of a large-scale, high-latitude filament eruption observed by the Solar Dynamics Observatory. We analyze the 2015 July 9-10 filament eruption and the evolution of the resulting coronal mass ejection (CME) through the solar corona. The slow streamer-blowout CME leaves behind an elongated post-eruption arcade above the extended polarity inversion line that is only poorly visible in extreme ultraviolet (EUV) disk observations and does not resemble a typical bright flare-loop system. Magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) simulation results from our data-inspired modeling of this eruption compare favorably with the EUV and white-light coronagraph observations. We estimate the reconnection flux from the simulation's flare-arcade growth and examine the magnetic-field orientation and evolution of the erupting prominence, highlighting the transition from an erupting sheared-arcade filament channel into a streamer-blowout flux-rope CME. Our results represent the first numerical modeling of a global-scale filament eruption where multiple ambiguous and complex observational signatures in EUV and white light can be fully understood and explained with the MHD simulation. In this context, our findings also suggest that the so-called stealth CME classification, as a driver of unexpected or "problem" geomagnetic storms, belongs more to a continuum of observable/nonobservable signatures than to separate or distinct eruption processes.
  • Sanchez-Diaz, E.; Rouillard, A. P.; Davies, J. A.; Lavraud, B.; Sheeley, N. R.; Pinto, R. F.; Kilpua, E.; Plotnikov, I.; Genot, V. (2017)
    The origin of the slow solar wind is still a topic of much debate. The continual emergence of small transient structures from helmet streamers is thought to constitute one of the main sources of the slow wind. Determining the height at which these transients are released is an important factor in determining the conditions under which the slow solar wind forms. To this end, we have carried out a multipoint analysis of small transient structures released from a north-south tilted helmet streamer into the slow solar wind over a broad range of position angles during Carrington Rotation 2137. Combining the remote-sensing observations taken by the Solar-TErrestrial RElations Observatory (STEREO) mission with coronagraphic observations from the SOlar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) spacecraft, we show that the release of such small transient structures (often called blobs), which subsequently move away from the Sun, is associated with the concomitant formation of transient structures collapsing back toward the Sun; the latter have been referred to by previous authors as "raining inflows." This is the first direct association between outflowing blobs and raining inflows, which locates the formation of blobs above the helmet streamers and gives strong support that the blobs are released by magnetic reconnection.
  • Lakka, Antti; Pulkkinen, Tuija I.; Dimmock, Andrew P.; Osmane, Adnane; Honkonen, Ilja; Palmroth, Minna; Janhunen, Pekka (2017)
    We investigate the effects of different initialisation methods of the GUMICS-4 global magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) simulation to the dynamics in different parts of the Earth's magnetosphere and hence compare five 12 h simulation runs that were initiated by 3 h of synthetic data and followed by 9 h of solar wind measurements using the OMNI data as input. As a reference, we use a simulation run that includes nearly 60 h of OMNI data as input prior to the 9 h interval examined with different initialisations. The selected interval is a high-speed stream event during a 10-day interval (12-22 June 2007). The synthetic initialisations include stepwise, linear and sinusoidal functions of the interplanetary magnetic field with constant density and velocity values. The results show that the solutions converge within 1 h to give a good agreement in both the bow shock and the magnetopause position. However, the different initialisation methods lead to local differences which should be taken into consideration when comparing model results to satellite measurements.
  • Sanchez-Diaz, E.; Rouillard, A. P.; Davies, J. A.; Lavraud, B.; Pinto, R. F.; Kilpua, E. (2017)
    In a recent study, we took advantage of a highly tilted coronal neutral sheet to show that density structures, extending radially over several solar radii (R-s), are released in the forming slow solar wind approximately 4-5 R-s above the solar surface. We related the signatures of this formation process to intermittent magnetic reconnection occurring continuously above helmet streamers. We now exploit the heliospheric imagery from the Solar Terrestrial Relation Observatory (STEREO) to map the spatial and temporal distribution of the ejected structures. We demonstrate that streamers experience quasi-periodic bursts of activity with the simultaneous outpouring of small transients over a large range of latitudes in the corona. This cyclic activity leads to the emergence of well-defined and broad structures. Derivation of the trajectories and kinematic properties of the individual small transients that make up these large-scale structures confirms their association with the forming slow solar wind (SSW). We find that these transients are released, on average, every 19.5 hr, simultaneously at all latitudes with a typical radial size of 12 R-s. Their spatial distribution, release rate, and three-dimensional extent are used to estimate the contribution of this cyclic activity to the mass flux carried outward by the SSW. Our results suggest that, in interplanetary space, the global structure of the heliospheric current sheet is dominated by a succession of blobs and associated flux ropes. We demonstrate this with an example event using STEREO-A in situ measurements.
  • Pal, Sanchita; Kilpua, Emilia; Good, Simon; Pomoell, Jens; Price, Daniel (2021)
    Context. Magnetic clouds (MCs) are transient structures containing large-scale magnetic flux ropes from solar eruptions. The twist of magnetic field lines around the rope axis reveals information about flux rope formation processes and geoeffectivity. During propagation MC flux ropes may erode via reconnection with the ambient solar wind. Any erosion reduces the magnetic flux and helicity of the ropes, and changes their cross-sectional twist profiles. Aims. This study relates twist profiles in MC flux ropes observed at 1 AU to the amount of erosion undergone by the MCs in interplanetary space. Methods. The twist profiles of two clearly identified MC flux ropes associated with the clear appearance of post eruption arcades in the solar corona are analyzed. To infer the amount of erosion, the magnetic flux content of the ropes in the solar atmosphere is estimated, and compared to estimates at 1 AU. Results. The first MC shows a monotonically decreasing twist from the axis to the periphery, while the second displays high twist at the axis, rising twist near the edges, and lower twist in between. The first MC displays a larger reduction in magnetic flux between the Sun and 1 AU, suggesting more erosion than that seen in the second MC. Conclusions. In the second cloud the rising twist at the rope edges may have been due to an envelope of overlying coronal field lines with relatively high twist, formed by reconnection beneath the erupting flux rope in the low corona. This high-twist envelope remained almost intact from the Sun to 1 AU due to the low erosion levels. In contrast, the high-twist envelope of the first cloud may have been entirely peeled away via erosion by the time it reaches 1 AU.
  • Battarbee, Markus; Brito, Thiago; Alho, Markku; Pfau-Kempf, Yann; Grandin, Maxime; Ganse, Urs; Papadakis, Konstantinos; Johlander, Andreas; Turc, Lucile; Dubart, Maxime; Palmroth, Minna (2021)
    Modern investigations of dynamical space plasma systems such as magnetically complicated topologies within the Earth's magnetosphere make great use of supercomputer models as well as spacecraft observations. Space plasma simulations can be used to investigate energy transfer, acceleration, and plasma flows on both global and local scales. Simulation of global magnetospheric dynamics requires spatial and temporal scales currently achievable through magneto-hydrodynamics or hybrid-kinetic simulations, which approximate electron dynamics as a charge-neutralizing fluid. We introduce a novel method for Vlasov-simulating electrons in the context of a hybrid-kinetic framework in order to examine the energization processes of magnetospheric electrons. Our extension of the Vlasiator hybrid-Vlasov code utilizes the global simulation dynamics of the hybrid method whilst modelling snapshots of electron dynamics on global spatial scales and temporal scales suitable for electron physics. Our eVlasiator model is shown to be stable both for single-cell and small-scale domains, and the solver successfully models Langmuir waves and Bernstein modes. We simulate a small test-case section of the near-Earth magnetotail plasma sheet region, reproducing a number of electron distribution function features found in spacecraft measurements.