Articles | Volume 22, issue 3
19 Mar 2004
 | 19 Mar 2004

Interchange instability of a curved current layerconvecting in the magnetosheath from the bow shock towards themagnetopause

I. L. Arshukova, N. V. Erkaev, and H. K. Biernat

Abstract. This paper deals with nonsteady perturbations of the magnetosheath parameters which are related to variations of the interplanetary magnetic field from north to south under a constant solar wind dynamic pressure. The magnetic field changes its direction within a thin layer which is convected with the plasma from the bow shock to the ionopause. In the course of time, this current layer is amplified during its motion towards the magnetopause. The intensity of the current is increasing, the layer thickness is decreasing, and the gradients of parameters are becoming much sharper while the layer is approaching the magnetopause. The curvature radius of this layer is decreasing while it is draping around the magnetopause. This curved layer structure with reversed magnetic field in the magnetosheath is found to be unstable with respect to the interchange instability. The growth rate of the instability is obtained for different positions of the layer.

Key words. Magnetospheric physics (magnetosheath)