Multi-scale MIT Coupling Dynamics Driven by Bursty Bulk Flows

This project aims to investigate the Bursty Bulk Flows (BBFs) within the Earth’s nightside magnetosphere and their effects on the ionosphere and thermosphere. The BBF dynamics is an outstanding magnetosphere-ionosphere-thermosphere (MIT) coupling problem associated with sudden magnetic field topology reconfiguration and explosive current formation, particle acceleration, and energy release in the magnetosphere. The simulation-observation results of this project will significantly deepen our understanding of magnetosphere-upper atmosphere coupling processes in the nightside transition region. We use a two-way coupled global MHD-PIC model within the Space Weather Modeling Framework (SWMF) and comprehensive multi-instrument observations in this project. The electron velocity distribution function evolution during a substorm-time BBF propagation is investigated in Wang et al., 2024.

(Top) Bz contours at the magnetotail with 400 km/s velocity contours highlighting BBFs. (Bottom) Electron velocity distribution functions from the dipolarization front to the end of the BBF. From Wang et al., 2024.