Eos, Transactions American Geophysical Union

Flux transfer events and reconnection at the magnetopause



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].