Magnetohydrodynamic Model of Europa's Interaction with Jupiter's Magnetosphere: Influence of Plumes in Europa's Atmosphere on the Plasma Environment

Friday, 19 December 2014
Aljona Bloecker1, Joachim Saur1, Lorenz Roth2 and Oliver Andreas Hartkorn1, (1)University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany, (2)Southwest Research Institute San Antonio, San Antonio, TX, United States
We develop a three-dimensional magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) model to study the influence of plumes in Europa's atmosphere on the interaction with Jupiter's magnetosphere and plasma environment. We consider the cases when Europa is located in, above and below the magnetospheric current sheet.
Recently, Roth et al. (2014) discovered transient water vapor plumes near Europa's south pole. Here we provide a structured study of the influence of plumes in Europa's atmosphere on the local plasma interaction and the Alfvén wings.
In our model we have included an asymmetric atmosphere of Europa, the electromagnetic induction in a subsurface water ocean, the plasma production and loss due to electron impact ionization and dissociative recombination. Additionally, our model takes into account different types of model plumes at the south pole.
Our analysis suggests that the plume modifies the global plasma interaction of Europa. The strength of the modification depends on the physical properties of the plume.