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Turbulent mass transfer caused by vortex induced reconnection in collisionless magnetospheric plasmas
Austrian Acad Sci, Space Res Inst, A-8010 Graz, Austria..
Japan Aerosp Explorat Agcy, Inst Space & Astronaut Sci, Sagamihara, Kanagawa 2525210, Japan..
Los Alamos Natl Lab, Los Alamos, NM 87545 USA..
Univ Colorado, Lab Atmospher & Space Phys, Boulder, CO 80303 USA..
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2017 (English)In: Nature Communications, ISSN 2041-1723, E-ISSN 2041-1723, Vol. 8, article id 1582Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

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-Alfvenic 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, 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.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP , 2017. Vol. 8, article id 1582
National Category
Astronomy, Astrophysics and Cosmology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-356353DOI: 10.1038/s41467-017-01579-0ISI: 000415648900014PubMedID: 29150662OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-356353DiVA, id: diva2:1235274
Available from: 2018-07-25 Created: 2018-07-25 Last updated: 2018-07-25Bibliographically approved

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Li, Wenya Y.
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Swedish Institute of Space Physics, Uppsala Division
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