Cluster observations of unusually high concentration of energetic O+ carried by flux ropes in the nightside high-latitude magnetosheath during a storm initial phase

Suping Duan, Lei Dai, Chi Wang, A. T Y Lui, Zhenxing Liu, Zhaohai He, Yongcun Zhang, I. Dandouras, H. Reme

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3 Scopus citations

Abstract

We present measurements from Cluster spacecraft to investigate the energetic singly charged oxygen ions, O+, within the flux ropes in the nightside high-latitude magnetosheath during the initial phase of an intense storm on 24 October 2011. Three magnetic flux ropes were identified by Cluster 4 in the intervals from 20:10 UT to 20:20 UT. Unusually, large number density of energetic O+ ions at energy of tens of keV was detected within these flux ropes. The number density of O+ ions was above 0.1cm-3 and the maximum value was about 0.25cm-3, 1 order of magnitude larger than the ambient value (~0.01cm-3) in the magnetosheath. The O+/H+ ratio is as large as ~0.08 within the flux ropes. Enhanced convection electric fields Ey (~10mV/m) are associated with the flux rope and the high concentrations of energetic O+. The flux ropes, which are presumably produced by magnetic reconnection at the dayside magnetopause or cusp, are convected at a larger velocity than the tailward velocity of ambient flows in the magnetosheath. These observations together show that abundant energetic O+ ions are carried by the flux ropes toward tail in the nightside magnetosheath. Our observations present new evidence for a chain linking the dayside to the nightside in the global O+ transport process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research A: Space Physics
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2015

Keywords

  • Energetic O ions
  • Flux rope
  • Magnetosheath
  • Storm

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