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We present an analysis of local properties of magnetic reconnection at the dayside magnetopause for various interplanetary magnetic field (IMF) orientations in global magnetospheric simulations. This has heretofore not been practical because it is difficult to locate where reconnection occurs for oblique IMF, but new techniques make this possible. The approach is to identify magnetic separators, the curves separating four regions of differing magnetic topology, which map the reconnection X-line. The electric field parallel to the X-line is the local reconnection rate. We compare results to a simple model of local two-dimensional asymmetric reconnection. To do so, we find the plasma parameters that locally drive reconnection in the magnetosheath and magnetosphere in planes perpendicular to the X-line at a large number of points along the X-line. The global magnetohydrodynamic simulations are from the three-dimensional Block-Adaptive, Tree Solarwind Roe-type Upwind Scheme (BATS-R-US) code with a uniform resistivity, although the techniques described here are extensible to any global magnetospheric simulation model. We find that the predicted local reconnection rates scale well with the measured values for all simulations, being nearly exact for due southward IMF. However, the absolute predictions differ by an undetermined constant of proportionality, whose magnitude increases as the IMF clock angle changes from southward to northward. We also show similar scaling agreement in a simulation with oblique southward IMF and a dipole tilt. The present results will be an important component of a full understanding of the local and global properties of dayside reconnection.

Source Citation

Komar, C. M., &Cassak, P. A. (2016). The Local Dayside Reconnection Rate For Oblique Interplanetary Magnetic Fields. Journal of Geophysical Research - Space Physics, 121(6), 5105-5120.