Predictive model of magnetosheath plasma flow and its validation against Cluster and THEMIS data
Abstract. An analytical model of magnetosheath plasma flow is described and compared with a large dataset of magnetosheath ion flow velocity measurements from Cluster and THEMIS spacecraft. The model is based on previous works by Kobel and Flückiger (1994) and Génot et al. (2011) and has been modified to overcome the restrictions of these models on the shape of model magnetopause and bow shock. Our model is compatible with any parabolic bow shock model and arbitrary magnetopause model. The model is relatively simple to implement and computationally inexpensive, and its only inputs are upstream solar wind parameters. Comparison with observed data yields a good correspondence: median error in the direction of flow velocity is comparable with the instrumental error, and flow magnitude is predicted with a reasonable accuracy (relative error in flow speed was less than 25% for 86.5% of observations).