Intermittent energy dissipation by turbulent reconnection

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Title: Intermittent energy dissipation by turbulent reconnection
Authors: Fu, HS
Vaivads, A
Khotyaintsev, YV
André, M
Cao, JB
Olshevsky, V
Eastwood, JP
Retinò, A
Item Type: Journal Article
Abstract: Magnetic reconnection—the process responsible for many explosive phenomena in both nature and laboratory—is efficient at dissipating magnetic energy into particle energy. To date, exactly how this dissipation happens remains unclear, owing to the scarcity of multipoint measurements of the “diffusion region” at the sub-ion scale. Here we report such a measurement by Cluster—four spacecraft with separation of 1/5 ion scale. We discover numerous current filaments and magnetic nulls inside the diffusion region of magnetic reconnection, with the strongest currents appearing at spiral nulls (O-lines) and the separatrices. Inside each current filament, kinetic-scale turbulence is significantly increased and the energy dissipation, E′ ⋅ j, is 100 times larger than the typical value. At the jet reversal point, where radial nulls (X-lines) are detected, the current, turbulence, and energy dissipations are surprisingly small. All these features clearly demonstrate that energy dissipation in magnetic reconnection occurs at O-lines but not X-lines.
Issue Date: 12-Jan-2017
Date of Acceptance: 6-Dec-2016
ISSN: 1944-8007
Publisher: American Geophysical Union
Start Page: 37
End Page: 43
Journal / Book Title: Geophysical Research Letters
Volume: 44
Issue: 1
Copyright Statement: An edited version of this paper was published by AGU. Copyright © 2017 American Geophysical Union.
Sponsor/Funder: Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC)
Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC)
Funder's Grant Number: ST/K001051/1
Keywords: Meteorology & Atmospheric Sciences
MD Multidisciplinary
Publication Status: Published
Appears in Collections:Space and Atmospheric Physics
Faculty of Natural Sciences

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