A sequence of flux transfer events potentially generated by different generation mechanisms

Trenchi, L., Fear, R. C., Trattner, K. J., Mihaljcic, B. and Fazakerley, A. N. (2016) A sequence of flux transfer events potentially generated by different generation mechanisms Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics, 121, (9), pp. 8624-8639. (doi:10.1002/2016JA022847).


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Flux transfer events (FTEs) are magnetic structures generated by time-varying reconnection at the dayside magnetopause. Understanding their generation mechanism is important, because it is necessary in order to understand the global contribution of FTEs to the convection process. We present observations of several FTEs sequentially observed by Cluster at the subsolar magnetopause. Cluster detected also several reconnection jets, which seem to be systematically associated with the trailing edge of the FTEs. This association is expected only in the FTEs formed by single X line reconnection but could be compatible also with the multiple X line model, when reconnection at one X line is dominant. Instead, it does not seem compatible with original mechanism proposed by Russell and Elphic (1978). For a large FTE, not associated with any reconnection jet, the Grad-Shafranov reconstruction obtained from Cluster 1 data recovers a flux rope, indicative of multiple X line reconnection. This same FTE was detected also by Cluster 3, which observed an asymmetric signature in the magnetic field component normal to the magnetopause. We show that this asymmetric signature was caused by an outward motion of the magnetopause. The orientation of the other FTEs, obtained from a Grad-Shafranov optimization, shows considerable spread, despite the relatively steady conditions. Our interpretation is that a combination of single and multiple X line reconnection generated these FTEs. The FTEs in the first part of the crossing, associated with reconnection jets, are generated by the single X line model and may therefore not satisfy the Grad-Shafranov assumptions so well. Instead, the last FTE, slower, bigger, and well separated from the previous ones, may be formed by multiple X line reconnection.

Item Type: Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi:10.1002/2016JA022847
ISSNs: 2169-9380 (print)
Organisations: Astronomy Group
ePrint ID: 404298
Date :
Date Event
18 August 2016Accepted/In Press
23 September 2016Published
Date Deposited: 05 Jan 2017 14:05
Last Modified: 24 Apr 2017 04:21
Further Information:Google Scholar
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/404298

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