Investigation of the outer and inner low-latitude boundary layers

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Abstract

We analyze 22 AMPTE/IRM crossings of the dayside low-latitude boundary layer for which a dense outer part can be distinguished from a dilute inner part. Whereas the plasma in the outer boundary layer (OBL) is dominated by solar wind particles, the partial densities of solar wind and magnetospheric particles are comparable in the inner boundary layer (IBL). For 11 events we find a reasonable agreement between observed plasma flows and those predicted by the tangential stress balance of an open magnetopause. Thus, we conclude that, at least in these cases, the OBL is formed by a local magnetic reconnection. The disagreement with the tangential stress balance in the other 11 cases might be due to reconnection being time-dependent and patchy. The north-south component of the proton bulk velocity in the boundary layer is, on average, directed toward high latitudes for both low and high magnetic shear across the magnetopause. This argues clearly against the possibility that the dayside lowlatitude boundary layer is populated with solar wind plasma primarily from the cusps. "Warm", counterstreaming electrons that originate primarily from the magnetosheath and have a field-aligned temperature that is higher than the electron temperature in the magnetosheath by a factor of 1-5, are a characteristic feature of the IBL. Profiles of the proton bulk velocity and the density of hot ring current electrons provide evidence that the IBL is on closed field lines. Part of the IBL may be on newly opened field lines. Using the average spectra of electric and magnetic fluctuations in the boundary layer, we estimate the diffusion caused by lower hybrid drift instability, gyroresonant pitch angle scattering, or kinetic Alfvén wave turbulence. We find that cross-field diffusion cannot transport solar wind plasma into the OBL or IBL at a rate that would account for the thickness (∼ 1000 km) of these sublayers. On the duskside. the dawn-dusk component of the proton bulk velocity in the IBL and magnetosphere is, on average, directed from the nightside toward local noon. Formation of the IBL may also be due to mechanisms operating in the magnetotail.

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APA

Bauer, T. M., Treumann, R. A., & Baumjohann, W. (2001). Investigation of the outer and inner low-latitude boundary layers. Annales Geophysicae, 19(9), 1065–1088. https://doi.org/10.5194/angeo-19-1065-2001

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