ICS-13 Abstract View


Double Magnetic Reconnection Driven by Kelvin-Helmholtz Vortices
Horton, W., horton@physics.utexas.edu, (1)
M. Faganello,matteo.faganello@univ-amu.fr , (2)
F. Califano, (3)
F. Pegoraro (3)
D. Borgogno (3)
Simulations and theory for the solar wind driven magnetic reconnection in the flanks of the magnetopause is shown to be intrinsically 3D with the secular growth of couple pairs of reconnection regions off the equatorial plane. We call the process double mid-latitude reconnection and show supporting 3D simulations and theory descripting the secular growth of the magnetic reconnection with the resulting mixing of the solar wind plasma with the magnetosphere plasma. The initial phase develops Kelvin-Helmholtz vortices at low-latitude and, through the propagation of Alfvén waves far from the region where the stresses are generated, creates a standard quasi-2D low latitude boundary layer magnetic reconnection but off the equatorial plane and with a weak guide field component. The reconnection exponential growth is followed by a secularly growing nonlinear phase that gradually closes the solar wind field lines on the Earth.
The nonlinear field line structure provides a channel for penetration of the SW plasma into the MS as observed by spacecraft [THEMIS and Cluster]. The simulations show the amount of solar wind plasma brought into the magnetosphere by tracing the time evolution of the areas corresponding to double reconnected field lines with Poincaré-like maps. The results for the solar wind plasma brought into the magnetosphere seems consistent with the observed plasma transport. Finally, we have shown how the intrinsic 3D nature of the doubly reconnected magnetic field lines leads to the generation of twisted magnetic spatial structures that differ from the quasi-2D magnetic islands structures.

1M. Faganello, F. Califano, F. Pegoraro, and T. Andreussi, Europhys. Lett. 100, 69001 (2012)
2D. Borgogno, F. Califano, M. Faganello, and F. Pegoraro, Phys. Plasmas 22, 032301 (2015)
3A. Otto and D. H. Fairfield, J. Geophys. Res. 105, 21175, doi:10.1029/ 1999JA000312 (2000).
(1) University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX USA
(2) Aix-Marseille University, CNRS, PIIM UMR 7345, 13397 Marseille, France
(3) Physics Department, University of Pisa, 56127 Pisa, Italy