A three-dimensional, iterative mapping procedure for the implementation of an ionosphere-magnetosphere anisotropic Ohm's law boundary condition in global magnetohydrodynamic simulations
Abstract. The mathematical formulation of an iterative procedure for the numerical implementation of an ionosphere-magnetosphere (IM) anisotropic Ohm's law boundary condition is presented. The procedure may be used in global magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) simulations of the magnetosphere. The basic form of the boundary condition is well known, but a well-defined, simple, explicit method for implementing it in an MHD code has not been presented previously. The boundary condition relates the ionospheric electric field to the magnetic field-aligned current density driven through the ionosphere by the magnetospheric convection electric field, which is orthogonal to the magnetic field B, and maps down into the ionosphere along equipotential magnetic field lines. The source of this electric field is the flow of the solar wind orthogonal to B. The electric field and current density in the ionosphere are connected through an anisotropic conductivity tensor which involves the Hall, Pedersen, and parallel conductivities. Only the height-integrated Hall and Pedersen conductivities (conductances) appear in the final form of the boundary condition, and are assumed to be known functions of position on the spherical surface R=R1 representing the boundary between the ionosphere and magnetosphere. The implementation presented consists of an iterative mapping of the electrostatic potential ψ the gradient of which gives the electric field, and the field-aligned current density between the IM boundary at R=R1 and the inner boundary of an MHD code which is taken to be at R2>R1. Given the field-aligned current density on R=R2, as computed by the MHD simulation, it is mapped down to R=R1 where it is used to compute ψ by solving the equation that is the IM Ohm's law boundary condition. Then ψ is mapped out to R=R2, where it is used to update the electric field and the component of velocity perpendicular to B. The updated electric field and perpendicular velocity serve as new boundary conditions for the MHD simulation which is then used to compute a new field-aligned current density. This process is iterated at each time step. The required Hall and Pedersen conductances may be determined by any method of choice, and may be specified anew at each time step. In this sense the coupling between the ionosphere and magnetosphere may be taken into account in a self-consistent manner.