Energy Budget of High-speed Plasma Flows in the Terrestrial Magnetotail

Yuduan Ma, Jian Yang, M. W. Dunlop, Jonathan Rae, Junying Yang

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3 Citations (Scopus)
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Significant advances have been presented for the theoretical model and quantitative investigation of the energy input from the solar wind and its subsequent release into the ring current, the Joule heating, and particle precipitation energy flux that are closely related to high-speed flows in the plasma sheet of the terrestrial magnetotail during both isolated and storm-time substorms. Here we further determine the plasma flow vorticity/shear and heating observed in the terrestrial magnetotail by the Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) mission by deducing that other energy may be dissipated along with the above-mentioned three energy releases. The energy transported by the flow is also estimated here. Three-dimensional observations have shown new detailed information that can be compared with quasi-2D simulations. In this investigation, we calculate vorticity/shear directly from simultaneous observation of four MMS satellites. Our results generally indicate that plasma heating or temperature enhancements are related to both the flow vorticity/shear and current density, but more strongly with flow vorticity/shear. This research suggests that the ubiquitous energy input from the solar wind can be used to estimate plasma heating or temperature enhancements in the absence of any process or phenomenon relating to explosive energy release in planetary magnetospheres.

Original languageEnglish
Article number16
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
Early online date30 Apr 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2020
Externally publishedYes


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