Paradigm transition in cosmic plasma physics, magnetic reconnection and the generation of field-aligned current

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8 Scopus citations

Abstract

The traditional theories of field-aligned current (FAC) generation, magnetic reconnection and mass, momentum and energy transfer within the magnetosphere were built on the basis of a convection picture and describe mainly large-scale, quasi-steady state phenomena occurring in a passive plasma region. However, these theories have not been able to account for many of the detailed observations that have been made in recent years. These incomplete, but widely accepted, theoretical models have led to numerous misleading or controversial issues in magneto-spheric physics in the past few decades. In this paper, we point out that MHD wave propagation, in particular, wave packet dynamics, plays an important role for phenomena occurring in the active plasma region, such as FAC generation and reconnection. The topological approach, using the concept of helicity, is used to describe the structure of MHD wave packets. The theories of FAC generation as well as the concept of reconnection need to be revised under wave packet dynamics. The MHD wave packet paradigm gives a major change in our approach to cosmic plasma physics. The rich and varied implications of wave packet dynamics exceed those given by either the u-B paradigm or the E-J paradigm. This paradigm transition will bridge the gap between cosmic plasma physics and modem physics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMagnetospheric Current Systems, 2000
EditorsRyoichi Fujii, Shin-Ichi Ohtani, Michael Hesse, Robert L. Lysak
PublisherBlackwell Publishing Ltd
Pages11-19
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)9781118669006
ISBN (Print)9780875909769
DOIs
StatePublished - 2000

Publication series

NameGeophysical Monograph Series
Volume118
ISSN (Print)0065-8448
ISSN (Electronic)2328-8779

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
AcknowledgmentsW. e have benefited from discussionsw ith many of our colleaguesi,n cluding D-H. Lee, N. Lin, T. Lui, E. N. Parker, T.-D. Phan, B. U. O. Sonnemp,W . Sun. This work has been supportedi n part by NSF Grants ATM-9301043, ATM- 9502907 and by NASA grantN AG5-4466.

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments. We have benefited from discussions with many of our colleagues, including D-H. Lee, N. Lin, T. Lui, E. N. Parker, T.-D. Phan, B. U. O. Sonnerup, W. Sun. This work has been supported in part by NSF Grants ATM-9301043, ATM-9502907 and by NASA grant NAG5-4466.

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