[Comment on “Explosive magnetic reconnection: Puzzle to be solved as the energy supply process for magnetospheric substorms?” by Syun-Ichi Akasofu] Explosive reconnection: Red herring or paradigm lost?



The recent article by Akasofu [1985] is not an accurate statement of the present status of substorm research. Neither is the magnetospheric substorm “almost exclusively discussed in terms of hypothetical explosive reconnection,” nor is it “only recently that the input-output relationship of the magnetosphere has been examined.” The question posed by Akasofu, “Is explosive magnetic reconnection. . .the primary energy supply process for substorms or. . .an unworkable hypothesis,” attacks a straw man of Akasofu's own design. In the process of attacking this straw man, Akasofu confuses the energization of the magnetosphere as a whole with the energization of magnetospheric substorms and ignores the fact that his present model is essentially in complete accord with the original near-tail reconnection model for substorms [cf. McPherron et al, 1973; Russell and McPherron, 1973]. Since Akasofu claims that misdirection in substorm research has been occurring for 2 decades, we briefly review the history of the reconnection model for magnetospheric energization.