23 Oct 2023
 | 23 Oct 2023
Status: this preprint is open for discussion.

Finding reconnection lines and flux rope axes via local coordinates in global ion-kinetic magnetospheric simulations

Markku Alho, Giulia Cozzani, Ivan Zaitsev, Fasil Tesema Kebede, Urs Ganse, Markus Battarbee, Maarja Bussov, Maxime Dubart, Sanni Hoilijoki, Leo Kotipalo, Konstantinos Papadakis, Yann Pfau-Kempf, Jonas Suni, Vertti Tarvus, Abiyot Workayehu, Hongyang Zhou, and Minna Palmroth

Abstract. Magnetic reconnection is a crucially important process for energy conversion in plasma physics, the substorm cycle of Earth's magnetosphere and solar flares being prime examples. While 2D models have been widely applied to study reconnection, investigating reconnection in 3D is still in many aspects an open problem. Finding sites of magnetic reconnection in a 3D setting is not a trivial task, with several approaches from topological skeletons to Lorentz transformations proposed to tackle the issue. This work presents a complementary method by noting that the magnetic field structures near reconnection lines exhibit two-dimensional features that can be identified in a suitably chosen local coordinate system. We present applications of this method to a hybrid-Vlasov Vlasiator simulation of the Earth's magnetosphere, showing the complex magnetic topologies created by reconnection. We also overview the dimensionalities of magnetic field structures in the simulation to support the use of such coordinate systems.

Markku Alho et al.

Status: open (until 15 Dec 2023)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-2300', Anonymous Referee #1, 15 Nov 2023 reply
  • RC2: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-2300', Anonymous Referee #2, 30 Nov 2023 reply

Markku Alho et al.

Data sets

Vlasiator 6D 'EGI' tail current sheet data series Minna Palmroth

Model code and software

Vlasiator Yann Pfau-Kempf, Sebastian von Alfthan, Urs Ganse, Arto Sandroos, Markus Battarbee, Tuomas Koskela, Otto Hannuksela, Ilja Honkonen, Kostis Papadakis, Leo Kotipalo, Hongyang Zhou, Maxime Grandin, Dimitry Pokhotelov, and Markku Alho

Analysator Markus Battarbee, Otto Hannuksela, Yann Pfau-Kempf, Sebastian von Alfthan, Urs Ganse, Riku Jarvinen, Leo Kotipalo, Jonas Suni, Markku Alho, Lucile Turc, Ilja Honkonen, Thiago Brito, and Maxime Grandin

Markku Alho et al.


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Short summary
In detailed space plasma simulations, finding and characterizing magnetic reconnection sites and related geometries requires new tools to describe complex and dynamic geometries. This paper addresses the problem by determining suitable local coordinate systems and finding the geometrical signatures of relevant magnetic field features in these coordinates. We demonstrate the utility of the method on a state-of-the-art 3D simulation of Earth's magnetosphere, performed with the Vlasiator code.