The magnetotail is known to serve as a reservoir of energy transferred into the terrestrial magnetosphere from the solar wind. In principle, the stored energy can be dissipated impulsively, as in a substorm, or steadily through the process of steady adiabatic plasma convection. However, some theoretical arguments have suggested that quasi-static adiabatic convection cannot occur throughout the magnetotail because of the structure of the magnetic field. Here we reexamine the question. We show that in a magnetotail of finite width, downtail pressure gradients depend strongly on the ratio of the potential across half the tail to the ion temperature in the far tail (60 RE). For pertinent quiet time ratios (∼3), a Tsyganenko quiet-time magnetic field model is consistent with steady convection.
Geophysical Research Letters
American Geophysical Union Publications
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Kivelson, M. G. and H. E. Spence, On the possibility of quasi-static convection in the quiet magnetotail, Geophys. Res. Lett., 15, 1541, 1988.