Articles | Volume 26, issue 7
25 Jun 2008
 | 25 Jun 2008

Bifurcation of the tail current sheet and ion temperature anisotropy

P. L. Israelevich and A. I. Ershkovich

Abstract. We investigated the relation between the geotail current sheet structure and the anisotropy of the ion temperature in the plasma sheet. Current density distribution in the geomagnetic tail is shown not to depend on the ratio between the parallel and perpendicular ion temperature. The tail current sheet bifurcation is controlled by non-gyrotropicity of plasma pressure: double peaked current density distribution is observed when the ion perpendicular temperature exhibits anisotropy, and the electric current density is stronger for larger ratio · (T⊥maxT⊥min)/T. The current sheet thinning is accompanied by the perpendicular temperature anisotropy, and, generally, double-peaked current sheets are thinner than single-peaked sheets.