This study presents three-dimensional (3D) resistive Hall-magnetohydrodynamic simulations of the Kelvin-Helmholtz instability (KHI) dynamics at Earth's magnetospheric flanks during northward interplanetary magnetic field periods. By comparing two simulations with and without initial magnetic shear, we analyze the impact of distinct magnetic field orientations on plasma dynamics and magnetic reconnection events taking into account 3D mechanisms, such as KHI high latitude stabilization. The identical nature of the simulations, except for the presence/absence of an initial magnetic shear, enables, for the first time, a complete and coherent comparative analysis of the latitudinal distribution of KH vortices, current sheets, reconnection events, and the evolution of the mixing layer. In one configuration, a uniform magnetic field leads to double mid-latitude reconnection (MLR), while in the other, magnetic shear induces both type I vortex-induced reconnection (VIR) and MLR. Notably, the type I VIR observed in this second scenario results from the combined action of line advection and vortex-induced current sheet pinching (the classic mechanism driving two-dimensional type I VIR). Of particular importance is our quantification of newly closed field lines that experienced double reconnection, ultimately becoming embedded in solar wind plasma at low latitudes while remaining connected to magnetospheric plasma at high latitudes. The varying abundance of such lines in the two simulations holds implications for plasma transport at the magnetopause.

Comparative simulations of Kelvin–Helmholtz induced magnetic reconnection at the Earth's magnetospheric flanks

Silvia Ferro;Matteo Faganello;Francesco Califano;
2024-01-01

Abstract

This study presents three-dimensional (3D) resistive Hall-magnetohydrodynamic simulations of the Kelvin-Helmholtz instability (KHI) dynamics at Earth's magnetospheric flanks during northward interplanetary magnetic field periods. By comparing two simulations with and without initial magnetic shear, we analyze the impact of distinct magnetic field orientations on plasma dynamics and magnetic reconnection events taking into account 3D mechanisms, such as KHI high latitude stabilization. The identical nature of the simulations, except for the presence/absence of an initial magnetic shear, enables, for the first time, a complete and coherent comparative analysis of the latitudinal distribution of KH vortices, current sheets, reconnection events, and the evolution of the mixing layer. In one configuration, a uniform magnetic field leads to double mid-latitude reconnection (MLR), while in the other, magnetic shear induces both type I vortex-induced reconnection (VIR) and MLR. Notably, the type I VIR observed in this second scenario results from the combined action of line advection and vortex-induced current sheet pinching (the classic mechanism driving two-dimensional type I VIR). Of particular importance is our quantification of newly closed field lines that experienced double reconnection, ultimately becoming embedded in solar wind plasma at low latitudes while remaining connected to magnetospheric plasma at high latitudes. The varying abundance of such lines in the two simulations holds implications for plasma transport at the magnetopause.
2024
Ferro, Silvia; Faganello, Matteo; Califano, Francesco; Bacchini, Fabio
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11568/1240607
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