2022 Thayer Investiture

All Thayer Events

Engineering-Physics Space Plasma Seminar



4:00pm - 5:00pm EST


Zoom: Email for link and password.

"Recent Developments in Modeling the Origin of Near-Earth Plasma"

The origin of near-Earth plasma has been a topic of intense scientific study since the beginning of the space age. Earth's magnetosphere, the magnetic cavity carved out of the solar wind by the planet's intrinsic magnetic field, is populated by two sources. One source is the solar wind, the tenuous plasma comprised primarily of protons that is constantly blowing outward from the sun. The second source is Earth itself, where plasma flows from the ionosphere to fill the magnetosphere with protons as well as heavier ion species. Plasma of ionospheric origin is implicated in a host of magnetospheric processes with impacts on various space weather phenomena. This presentation will discuss recent advances in modeling ionospheric outflows of plasma and their impact on magnetospheric composition and dynamics. These advances apply an amalgam of fluid and kinetic simulation techniques, adding new features and capabilities to models in the Space Weather Modeling Framework. These tools are then applied to study a number of interesting science problems. First, we will use numerical simulations to explore how energy inputs connect to ionospheric outflow for H+ and O+ and what controls the upper and lower bounds of the outflow. These results help to explore the causal physical connections underlying widely used empirical results. We will then look at the coupled space environment during a geomagnetic storm using a simulation that separates the different sources of near-Earth plasma. These simulations include separate fluids for solar wind and ionospheric protons, ionospheric oxygen, and the plasmasphere. Additionally, the model includes the effects of both a hot ring current and a cold plasmasphere population simultaneously.

A number of intriguing results are found in this study touching on the evolution of magnetospheric composition, hemispheric asymmetry of ionospheric outflow, and the system-wide impact caused by the arrival of the plasmaspheric plume at the dayside magnetopause.

Finally, the potential of new flight projects to address outstanding mysteries in this area will be discussed.

About the Speaker(s)

Alex Glocer


For more information, contact Tressena Manning at tressena.a.manning@dartmouth.edu or +1 (603) 646-2854.