Statistical Properties of Magnetic Structures and Energy Dissipation during Turbulent Reconnection in the Earth's Magnetotail

K. Bergstedt, H. Ji, J. Jara-Almonte, J. Yoo, R. E. Ergun, L. J. Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

We present the first statistical study of magnetic structures and associated energy dissipation observed during a single period of turbulent magnetic reconnection, by using the in situ measurements of the Magnetospheric Multiscale mission in the Earth's magnetotail on 26 July 2017. The structures are selected by identifying a bipolar signature in the magnetic field and categorized as plasmoids or current sheets via an automated algorithm which examines current density and plasma flow. The size of the plasmoids forms a decaying exponential distribution ranging from subelectron up to ion scales. The presence of substantial number of current sheets is consistent with a physical picture of dynamic production and merging of plasmoids during turbulent reconnection. The magnetic structures are locations of significant energy dissipation via electric field parallel to the local magnetic field, while dissipation via perpendicular electric field dominates outside of the structures. Significant energy also returns from particles to fields.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2020GL088540
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Volume47
Issue number19
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 16 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)

Keywords

  • magnetotail
  • plasmoids
  • reconnection
  • turbulence

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