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Asymmetrical response of dayside ion precipitation to a large rotation of the IMF

Abstract : We have carried out global magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) simulations together with large-scale kinetic simulations to investigate the response of the dayside magnetospheric ion precipitation to a large rotation (135°) of the interplanetary magnetic field (IMF). The study uses simplified global MHD model (no dipole tilt and constant ionospheric conductance) and idealized solar wind conditions where the IMF rotates smoothly from a southward toward a northward direction (BX = 0) to clearly identify the effects of the impact of the discontinuity on the magnetopause. Results of the global simulations reveal that a strong north-south asymmetry develops in the pattern of precipitating ions during the interaction of the IMF rotation with the magnetopause. For a counterclockwise IMF rotation from its original southward direction (BY < 0), a spot of high-energy particle injections occurs in the Northern Hemisphere but not in the Southern Hemisphere. The spot moves poleward and dawnward as the interacting field rotates. In that case, reconnection is found close to the poleward edge of the northern cusp, while it occurs farther tailward in the Southern Hemisphere. Tracing magnetic field lines shows an asymmetry in the tilt of the cusps and indicates that the draping and subsequent double reconnection of newly opened field lines from the Southern Hemisphere over the dayside magnetosphere cause the symmetry breaking. The reverse north-south asymmetry is found for a clockwise IMF rotation from its original southward direction (BY > 0). Trends observed in the ion dispersions predicted from the simulations are in good agreement with Cluster observations of the midaltitude northern cusp, which motivated the study.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, May 17, 2022 - 4:07:18 PM
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J. Berchem, R. L. Richard, C. P. Escoubet, S. Wing, F. Pitout. Asymmetrical response of dayside ion precipitation to a large rotation of the IMF. Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics, 2016, 121, pp.263-273. ⟨10.1002/2015JA021969⟩. ⟨insu-03670555⟩

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