Large-Scale Models of the Ionosphere/Magnetosphere/Solar Wind System–MHD as a Unifying Principle

  1. T. E. Moore,
  2. J. H. Waite Jr.,
  3. T. W. Moorehead and
  4. W. B. Hanson
  1. V. M. Vasyliunas

Published Online: 18 MAR 2013

DOI: 10.1029/GM044p0033

Modeling Magnetospheric Plasma

Modeling Magnetospheric Plasma

How to Cite

Vasyliunas, V. M. (1988) Large-Scale Models of the Ionosphere/Magnetosphere/Solar Wind System–MHD as a Unifying Principle, in Modeling Magnetospheric Plasma (eds T. E. Moore, J. H. Waite, T. W. Moorehead and W. B. Hanson), American Geophysical Union, Washington, D. C.. doi: 10.1029/GM044p0033

Author Information

  1. Max-Planck-Institut für Aeronomie, D-3411 Katlenburg-Lindau, Federal Republic of Germany

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 18 MAR 2013
  2. Published Print: 1 JAN 1988

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780875900704

Online ISBN: 9781118664414



  • Space plasmas—Mathematical models;
  • Magnetosphere—Mathematical models;
  • Ionosphere—Mathematical models


The magnetohydrodynamic approximation provides the basic framework for most models of large-scale plasma processes in the interaction between the solar wind and the magnetosphere. It may be applied directly, with the magnetohydrodynamic coupling between the plasma flow and the magnetic field being built into the model, or additional well-defined terms in the generalized Ohm's law may be introduced to permit departures from ideal magnetohydrodynamics. In models of the magnetosheath (1), the magnetic field is determined from the flow which is given by a hydrodynamic calculation. In models of the inner magnetosphere (2) and its coupling to the ionosphere, the flow is constrained by the given magnetic field, and the finite ionospheric resistivity plays a crucial role. A self-consistent treatment of plasma dynamics and the magnetic field is introduced in models of the magnetotail (3) but generally only for simplified geometries and special symmetries. Most unsolved problems lie at the interfaces between these categories; (2)-(3) requires primarily improved approximation and solution techniques, but (1)-(2) also involves unsolved questions of physics of magnetic merging and plasma entry.