Articles | Volume 21, issue 9
30 Sep 2003
 | 30 Sep 2003

Magnetic turbulence and particle dynamics in the Earth’s magnetotail

G. Zimbardo, A. Greco, A. L. Taktakishvili, P. Veltri, and L. M. Zelenyi

Abstract. The influence of magnetic turbulence in the near-Earth magnetotail on ion motion is investigated by numerical simulation. The magnetotail current sheet is modelled as a magnetic field reversal with a normal magnetic field com-ponent Bn , plus a three-dimensional spectrum of magnetic fluctuations dB which represents the observed magnetic turbulence. The dawn-dusk electric field Ey is also considered. A test particle simulation is performed using different values of Bn and of the fluctuation level dB/B0. We show that when the magnetic fluctuations are taken into account, the particle dynamics is deeply affected, giving rise to an increase in the cross tail transport, ion heating, and current sheet thickness. For strong enough turbulence, the current splits in two layers, in agreement with recent Cluster observations.

Key words. Magnetospheric physics (magnetospheric configuration and dynamics) – Interplanetary physics (MHD waves and turbulence) – Electromagnetics (numerical methods)