For the general reader on magnetopause reconnection, it would appear that mixed information is coming from the global and quasi-steady type of large-scale reconnection (LSR) models and from the “patchy” and transient character of models related to flux transfer events (FTEs). I will attempt here to address complementary aspects of both types of models, with the goal of moving toward a unified model of magnetopause reconnection.

Motivated by the Eos article on transient reconnection at the magnetopause by Lockwood et al. [1990] as well as by a previous article on the subject by Lee [1988], both of which serve to summarize a large body of work since the initial papers on FTEs or “flux erosion events” by Russell and Elphic [1979] and Haerendel et al. [1978], I would like to comment on two aspects involving FTEs and LSR [Petschek, 1964; Gonzalez and Mozer, 1974; Vasyliunas, 1975; Forbes and Priest, 1987; Sonnerup, 1984, 1988].