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The contribution of flux transfer events to Mercury's Dungey cycle

The contribution of flux transfer events to Mercury's Dungey cycle
The contribution of flux transfer events to Mercury's Dungey cycle
Bursty dayside reconnection plays a proportionally larger role in the driving of Mercury's magnetosphere than it does at Earth. Individual bursts of reconnection, called flux transfer events (FTEs), are thought to open up to 5% of Mercury's polar cap; coupled with the much higher repetition rate of FTEs at Mercury and the short Dungey cycle timescale, this makes FTEs the major driver of Mercury's magnetosphere. However, comparison between spacecraft and ionospheric observations at Earth suggests that the terrestrial contribution of FTEs may have been severely underestimated, by making implicit assumptions about FTE structure. In this study, we consider the implications of removing these assumptions at Mercury; by considering FTE mechanisms based on longer reconnection lines, we find that the contribution of FTEs to Mercury's Dungey cycle could be 5 times greater than previously thought and that FTEs may be able to provide sufficient flux transport to drive Mercury's substorm cycle.
0094-8276
14239-14246
Fear, Robert
8755b9ed-c7dc-4cbb-ac9b-56235a0431ab
Coxon, John
566baea5-6a30-4855-bde3-a09c115efde4
Jackman, Caitriona
9bc3456c-b254-48f1-ade0-912c5b8b4529
Fear, Robert
8755b9ed-c7dc-4cbb-ac9b-56235a0431ab
Coxon, John
566baea5-6a30-4855-bde3-a09c115efde4
Jackman, Caitriona
9bc3456c-b254-48f1-ade0-912c5b8b4529

Fear, Robert, Coxon, John and Jackman, Caitriona (2019) The contribution of flux transfer events to Mercury's Dungey cycle. Geophysical Research Letters, 46 (24), 14239-14246. (doi:10.1029/2019GL085399).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Bursty dayside reconnection plays a proportionally larger role in the driving of Mercury's magnetosphere than it does at Earth. Individual bursts of reconnection, called flux transfer events (FTEs), are thought to open up to 5% of Mercury's polar cap; coupled with the much higher repetition rate of FTEs at Mercury and the short Dungey cycle timescale, this makes FTEs the major driver of Mercury's magnetosphere. However, comparison between spacecraft and ionospheric observations at Earth suggests that the terrestrial contribution of FTEs may have been severely underestimated, by making implicit assumptions about FTE structure. In this study, we consider the implications of removing these assumptions at Mercury; by considering FTE mechanisms based on longer reconnection lines, we find that the contribution of FTEs to Mercury's Dungey cycle could be 5 times greater than previously thought and that FTEs may be able to provide sufficient flux transport to drive Mercury's substorm cycle.

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Accepted/In Press date: 2 December 2019
e-pub ahead of print date: 4 December 2019
Published date: 23 December 2019

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 437449
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/437449
ISSN: 0094-8276
PURE UUID: 5bf9e724-4840-44f3-bc31-021f3c31f8a5
ORCID for Robert Fear: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-0589-7147
ORCID for John Coxon: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-0166-6854
ORCID for Caitriona Jackman: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-0635-7361

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Date deposited: 30 Jan 2020 17:38
Last modified: 07 Oct 2020 04:52

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