Inner magnetospheric modeling during geomagnetic active times
Toffoletto, Frank R.
Doctor of Philosophy
In this thesis we show that the entropy parameter PV5/3 , where P is the pressure and V is the volume of a flux tube with unit magnetic flux, plays a central role in the earthward plasma convection from the near- and middle-Earth plasma sheet to the inner magnetosphere. This work presents a series of numerical simulations, investigating the relationship between the value of PV5/3 and the different features of plasma earthward transport that occur during different types of events in geomagnetic active times. The simulations are conducted using the Rice-Convection-Model (RCM) and the Rice-Convection-Model-Equilibrium (RCM-E) that have carefully designed boundary conditions to simulate the effect of various values of PV 5/3. In Chapter 3 we present results of an RCM simulation of a sawtooth event where it is found that a dramatic reduction of PV5/3 on the boundary along a wide range of local times produces interchange convection in the inner magnetosphere and drives spatially quasi-periodic Birkeland currents that suggest an explanation for the finger-like aurora usually observed during this type of event. In Chapter 4 we present results of an RCM-E simulation of an isolated substorm, which is done by imposing depleted PV5/3 (a bubble) in the expansion phase. The results of this simulation reproduce typical features of a substorm and agree fairly well with multipoint observations. Chapter 6 presents a detailed analysis of the RCM-E expansion phase simulation which indicates that the reconfigurations of PV5/3, plasma pressure and magnetic field in an idealized bubble injection event can be quite complicated. Chapter 7 presents results of a superposed epoch study using Geotail data showing that the time variations of PV 5/3 are different in isolated substorms, pseudo-breakups and convection bay events, suggesting that bubbles have different characteristics in different modes of earthward transport. We follow this up with three corresponding RCM-E simulations by representing a sustained bubble, a transient bubble and sustained low PV5/3 plasma along the boundary. The simulations are roughly consistent with theoretical suggestions, superposed epoch results and some other observations. These simulations provide a systematic description of inner magnetospheric configuration during various active events, suggesting the temporal and spatial characteristics of PV5/3 in the plasma sheet as a key in the magnetospheric convection.
Geophysics; Plasma physics