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Decay of Kelvin?Helmholtz Vortices at the Earth's Magnetopause Under Pure Southward IMF Conditions


ABSTRACT: Abstract At the Earth's low?latitude magnetopause, clear signatures of the Kelvin?Helmholtz (KH) waves have been frequently observed during periods of the northward interplanetary magnetic field (IMF), whereas these signatures have been much less frequently observed during the southward IMF. Here, we performed the first 3?D fully kinetic simulation of the magnetopause KH instability under the southward IMF condition. The simulation demonstrates that fast magnetic reconnection is induced at multiple locations along the vortex edge in an early nonlinear growth phase of the instability. The reconnection outflow jets significantly disrupt the flow of the nonlinear KH vortex, while the disrupted turbulent flow strongly bends and twists the reconnected field lines. The resulting coupling of the complex field and flow patterns within the magnetopause boundary layer leads to a quick decay of the vortex structure, which may explain the difference in the observation probability of KH waves between northward and southward IMF conditions. Key Points Three?dimensional fully kinetic simulation of Kelvin?Helmholtz instability at the Earth's magnetopause under the southward IMF condition is performed Fast reconnection causes a rapid decay of the nonlinear vortex structure in the early nonlinear growth phase of the instability The vortex decay can lead to a lower probability of observing magnetopause Kelvin?Helmholtz waves/vortices during southward IMF periods

SUBMITTER: Nakamura T 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC7507125 | BioStudies | 2020-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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