Role of dayside transients in a substorm process: Results from the global kinetic simulation Vlasiator

Monday, 14 December 2015
Poster Hall (Moscone South)
Minna Palmroth1, Sanni Hoilijoki1, Yann Pfau-Kempf1, Heli Hietala2, Yukitoshi Nishimura3, Vassilis Angelopoulos4, Tuija I Pulkkinen5, Urs Ganse6, Otto Hannuksela7, Sebastian von Alfthan8, Markus C Battarbee9 and Rami O Vainio10, (1)Finnish Meteorological Institute, Helsinki, Finland, (2)Imperial College London, London, United Kingdom, (3)University of California Los Angeles, Department of Atmospheric and Ocean Science, Los Angeles, CA, United States, (4)University of California Los Angeles, Earth, Planetary, and Space Sciences, Los Angeles, CA, United States, (5)Aalto University, Aalto, Finland, (6)University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland, (7)University of Helsinki, Department of Physics, Helsinki, Finland, (8)CSC Centre for Scientific Computing, Espoo, Finland, (9)University of Turku, Turku, Finland, (10)University of Turku, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Turku, Finland
We investigate the dayside-nightside coupling of the magnetospheric dynamics in a global kinetic simulation displaying the entire magnetosphere. We use the newly developed Vlasiator (, which is the world’s first global hybrid-Vlasov simulation modelling the ions as distribution functions, while electrons are treated as a charge-neutralising fluid. Here, we run Vlasiator in the 5-dimensional (5D) setup, where the ordinary space is presented in the 2D noon-midnight meridional plane, embedding in each grid cell the 3D velocity space. This approach combines the improved physical solution with fine resolution, allowing to investigate kinetic processes as a consequence of the global magnetospheric evolution. The simulation is during steady southward interplanetary magnetic field. We observe dayside reconnection and the resulting 2D representations of flux transfer events (FTE). FTE’s move tailwards and distort the magnetopause, while the largest of them even modify the plasma sheet location. In the nightside, the plasma sheet shows bead-like density enhancements moving slowly earthward. The tailward side of the dipolar field stretches. Strong reconnection initiates first in the near-Earth region, forming a tailward-moving magnetic island that cannibalises other islands forming further down the tail, increasing the island's volume and complexity. After this, several reconnection lines are formed again in the near-Earth region, resulting in several magnetic islands. At first, none of the earthward moving islands reach the closed field region because just tailward of the dipolar region exists a relatively stable X-line, which is strong enough to push most of the magnetic islands tailward. However, finally one of the tailward X-lines is strong enough to overcome the X-line nearest to Earth, forming a strong surge into the dipolar field region as there is nothing anymore to hold back the propagation of the structure. We investigate this substorm process holistically as a result of dayside-nightside coupling. In particular, we concentrate on the role of the FTE’s in the tail magnetospheric dynamics. They are observed to drive strong waves in the lobes that may affect the plasma sheet beading and the resulting substorm process.