Journal Article Full-particle simulations of instabilities in a thin current sheet of the magnetospheric system prior to substorm onset Space science

Uchino, Hirotoshi  ,  Machida, Shinobu

672015-10-08 , SpringerOpen
Substorm triggering was the focus of recent two-dimensional superposed-epoch analyses based on Geotail and THEMIS data. The results indicate that magnetic-field dipolarization at X∼-8 Re and magnetic reconnection at X∼-20 Re occur simultaneously at the onset. These results imply that there are physical mechanisms that widely affect both the dipole and current-sheet regions. The analyses also have found that a local B z enhancement appears before the substorm onset and magnetic reconnection occurs at its tailward edge. We performed four 2.5-dimensional full-particle simulations with a new initial magnetic-field structure to focus on instabilities in the magnetosphere. The structure is similar to the Earth's dipole magnetic field combined with a stretched field and current sheet on the tailward side. The simulation with the initial magnetic-field configuration shows that nodes of the magnetic field appear in the current sheet where the growth condition of tearing instability is satisfied. The features of the instability are close to those of the electron tearing mode reported in previous simulation results. Another three simulations with a local B z enhancement, as seen in the observational results, at various locations in the current sheet were performed to explore its impacts on the evolution of the instability. A relaxation process around the enhancement generates a new node at its tailward edge if its location satisfies the growth condition. The wavelength and dominant mode of the instability can be changed by the coupling between the process and tearing mode depending on the location of the enhancement. Our simulations reveal new features associated with tearing instabilities in the magnetospheric-field configuration.

Number of accesses :  

Other information