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Title: Turbulent mass transfer caused by vortex induced reconnection in collisionless magnetospheric plasmas

Abstract

Magnetic reconnection is believed to be the main driver to transport solar wind into the Earth’s magnetosphere when the magnetopause features a large magnetic shear. However, even when the magnetic shear is too small for spontaneous reconnection, the Kelvin–Helmholtz instability driven by a super-Alfvénic velocity shear is expected to facilitate the transport. Although previous kinetic simulations have demonstrated that the non-linear vortex flows from the Kelvin–Helmholtz instability gives rise to vortex-induced reconnection and resulting plasma transport, the system sizes of these simulations were too small to allow the reconnection to evolve much beyond the electron scale as recently observed by the Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) spacecraft. Here in this paper, based on a large-scale kinetic simulation and its comparison with MMS observations, we show for the first time that ion-scale jets from vortex-induced reconnection rapidly decay through self-generated turbulence, leading to a mass transfer rate nearly one order higher than previous expectations for the Kelvin–Helmholtz instability.

Authors:
 [1]; ORCiD logo [2]; ORCiD logo [3];  [4];  [5];  [1]
  1. Austrian Academy of Sciences, Graz (Austria). Space Research Inst.
  2. Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, Sagamihara (Japan). Inst. of Space and Astronautical Science
  3. Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
  4. Univ. of Colorado, Boulder, CO (United States). Lab. for Atmospheric and Space Physics
  5. Swedish Inst. of Space Physics, Uppsala (Sweden); Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing (China). State Key Lab. of Space Weather, National Space Science Center
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility (OLCF); Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA); Austrian Research Fund; USDOE Office of Science (SC)
OSTI Identifier:
1412878
Report Number(s):
LA-UR-17-28930
Journal ID: ISSN 2041-1723
Grant/Contract Number:  
AC52-06NA25396; AC05-00OR22725; NNH13AV26I; NNX08AO84G
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Nature Communications
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 8; Journal Issue: 1; Journal ID: ISSN 2041-1723
Publisher:
Nature Publishing Group
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTRONOMY AND ASTROPHYSICS; Heliospheric and Magnetospheric Physics; magnetic reconnection, turbulence, kelvin-helmholtz, magnetopause

Citation Formats

Nakamura, T. K. M., Hasegawa, H., Daughton, William Scott, Eriksson, S., Li, W. Y., and Nakamura, R. Turbulent mass transfer caused by vortex induced reconnection in collisionless magnetospheric plasmas. United States: N. p., 2017. Web. doi:10.1038/s41467-017-01579-0.
Nakamura, T. K. M., Hasegawa, H., Daughton, William Scott, Eriksson, S., Li, W. Y., & Nakamura, R. Turbulent mass transfer caused by vortex induced reconnection in collisionless magnetospheric plasmas. United States. doi:10.1038/s41467-017-01579-0.
Nakamura, T. K. M., Hasegawa, H., Daughton, William Scott, Eriksson, S., Li, W. Y., and Nakamura, R. Fri . "Turbulent mass transfer caused by vortex induced reconnection in collisionless magnetospheric plasmas". United States. doi:10.1038/s41467-017-01579-0. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1412878.
@article{osti_1412878,
title = {Turbulent mass transfer caused by vortex induced reconnection in collisionless magnetospheric plasmas},
author = {Nakamura, T. K. M. and Hasegawa, H. and Daughton, William Scott and Eriksson, S. and Li, W. Y. and Nakamura, R.},
abstractNote = {Magnetic reconnection is believed to be the main driver to transport solar wind into the Earth’s magnetosphere when the magnetopause features a large magnetic shear. However, even when the magnetic shear is too small for spontaneous reconnection, the Kelvin–Helmholtz instability driven by a super-Alfvénic velocity shear is expected to facilitate the transport. Although previous kinetic simulations have demonstrated that the non-linear vortex flows from the Kelvin–Helmholtz instability gives rise to vortex-induced reconnection and resulting plasma transport, the system sizes of these simulations were too small to allow the reconnection to evolve much beyond the electron scale as recently observed by the Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) spacecraft. Here in this paper, based on a large-scale kinetic simulation and its comparison with MMS observations, we show for the first time that ion-scale jets from vortex-induced reconnection rapidly decay through self-generated turbulence, leading to a mass transfer rate nearly one order higher than previous expectations for the Kelvin–Helmholtz instability.},
doi = {10.1038/s41467-017-01579-0},
journal = {Nature Communications},
number = 1,
volume = 8,
place = {United States},
year = {2017},
month = {11}
}

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