Perpendicular Current Reduction Caused by Cold Ions of Ionospheric Origin in Magnetic Reconnection at the Magnetopause: Particle‐in‐Cell Simulations and Spacecraft Observations
Geophysical Research Letters, 45, 10,033– 10,042. doi : https://doi.org/10.1029/2018GL079051
Sergio Toledo‐Redondo Jérémy Dargent Nicolas Aunai Benoit Lavraud Mats André Wenya Li Barbara Giles Per‐Arne Lindqvist Robert E. Ergun Christopher T. Russell James L. Burch
Cold ions of ionospheric origin are present throughout the Earth’s magnetosphere, including the dayside magnetopause, where they modify the properties of magnetic reconnection, a major coupling mechanism at work between the magnetosheath and the magnetosphere. We present Magnetospheric MultiScale (MMS) spacecraft observations of the reconnecting magnetopause with different amounts of cold ions and show that their presence reduces the Hall term in the Ohm’s law. Then, we compare two particle‐in‐cell simulations, with and without cold ions on the magnetospheric side. The cold ions remain magnetized inside the magnetospheric separatrix region, leading to the reduction of the perpendicular currents associated with the Hall effect. Moreover, this reduction is proportional to the relative number density of cold ions. And finally, the Hall electric field peak is reduced along the magnetospheric separatrix owing to cold ions. This should have an effect on energy conversion by reconnection from electromagnetic fields to kinetic energy of the particles.