Ubiquity of Kelvin-Helmholtz waves at Earth's magnetopause.

Academic Article

Abstract

  • Magnetic reconnection is believed to be the dominant process by which solar wind plasma enters the magnetosphere. However, for periods of northward interplanetary magnetic field (IMF) reconnection is less likely at the dayside magnetopause, and Kelvin-Helmholtz waves (KHWs) may be important agents for plasma entry and for the excitation of ultra-low-frequency (ULF) waves. The relative importance of KHWs is controversial because no statistical data on their occurrence frequency exist. Here we survey 7 years of in situ data from the NASA THEMIS (Time History of Events and Macro scale Interactions during Substorms) mission and find that KHWs occur at the magnetopause ∼19% of the time. The rate increases with solar wind speed, Alfven Mach number and number density, but is mostly independent of IMF magnitude. KHWs may thus be more important for plasma transport across the magnetopause than previously thought, and frequently drive magnetospheric ULF waves.
  • Authors

  • Kavosi, Shiva
  • Raeder, Joachim
  • Publication Date

  • May 11, 2015
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Start Page

  • 7019
  • Volume

  • 6
  • Issue

  • 1