Kelvin-Helmholtz instability (KHI) and associated magnetic reconnection and diffusion processes provide plasma transport from solar wind into the magnetosphere. The efficiency of this transport depends on the magnetosheath and magnetospheric plasma and field properties at the vicinity of the magnetopause. Our recent statistical study using data from the Time History of Events and Macroscale Interactions during Substorms spacecraft indicates that the amplitude of the magnetosheath velocity fluctuations perpendicular to the magnetopause can be substantial. We have performed a series of local macroscale 2.5-dimensional magnetohydrodynamic simulations of the KHI during strongly northward interplanetary magnetic field and with the initial plasma parameters typical to the dayside magnetopause by perturbing the initial equilibrium with time-dependent perpendicular velocity field fluctuations. The effect of the single-mode and multimode seed spectrums at different frequencies and amplitudes is studied. The plasma transport in Kelvin-Helmholtz vortices is quantified. The results show that when large-amplitude, low-frequency seed velocity fluctuations exist in the magnetosheath, the resulting KH waves grow faster, get larger in size, and can transport more plasma through magnetic boundary, resulting in diffusion coefficient of the order 109 m2/s. The relevance of these findings to the solar wind-magnetosphere coupling is discussed.
Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics
American Geophysical Union
Grant or Award Name
Academy of Finland grants 267073/2013 and 288472, NSF GEM grant 1502774, NASA grant NNX16AF89G
Scholarly Commons Citation
Nykyri, K., X. Ma, A. Dimmock, C. Foullon, A. Otto, and A. Osmane (2017), Influence of velocity fluctuations on the Kelvin-Helmholtz instability and its associated mass transport, J. Geophys. Res. Space Physics, 122, 9489–9512, doi:10.1002/2017JA024374