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LWS TR&T Focus Teams:

Integrate Non-MHD/Kinetic Effects on Magnetic Reconnection, Particle Energization, and Plasma Heating into Global Models

Team Chair: Spiro Antiochos
Next Team Meeting:
Team-Maintained Web Site:
Team Publications:
Team Members:

Peter Yoon
Naiguo Lin
Mikhail Sitnov
Amitava Bhattacharjee
Jay Johnson
Pavel Travnicek

Target Description: Global magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) models of the magnetosphere are now routinely run to determine geospace conditions both retrospectively and in a forecast mode. However, such models lack the detailed physics needed to accurately describe the location, structure, and dynamics of the diffusion region where magnetic reconnection occurs, and thus the consequences. Recent advances in approaches beyond MHD (e.g, two-fluid (or Hall MHD), fully kinetic theory) have produced new insights on the role these processes play in controlling the dynamics and reconfigurations of magnetic fields, which in turn affect the radiation environment. However, there remains a gap between smaller-scale studies (involving, for example, reconnection, turbulence or collisionless shocks) and global modeling. This topic would bring together experts in two-fluid/kinetic processes, global modelers, and observers of the micro/macro scale interactions to determine how non-MHD/kinetic effects are affecting the global models and to develop schemes for including them.

Goals and Measures of Success: The goals of this Focused Science Topic are to determine how the treatment of non-MHD effects in MHD codes affects the results, including simulated storm and substorm events and the associated particle acceleration and magnetospheric reconfigurations and to develop schemes for incorporating such physics or parameterizations of the physics into global models. Reconnection and shock physics are of special importance for this Focused Science Topic. Measures of success include the ability to better simulate storm and substorm initiation and their effects. The availability of an approach to parameterizing effects of reconnection in heliophysics MHD models in general would be an especially desirable outcome.

Types of investigations:
• Development of magnetosphere models with the capability of accommodating subgrid scale physical phenomena;
• Development of kinetic and MHD or Hall MHD simulations that can be used to test parameterizations of the kinetic processes involved in reconnection;
• Application of such models to real or idealized magnetospheric disturbances to assess the importance of non-ideal-MHD physics in governing the dynamics of geospace;
• Observational studies that identify sites where reconnection, particle energization, and plasma heating occur and characterize their consequences (local as well as global); and
• Observational studies that span multiple spatial scales providing information on how non-MHD processes affect global scales.

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