How the magnetopause transition parameter works
Lockwood, M. and Hapgood, M. A. (1997) How the magnetopause transition parameter works. Geophysical Research Letters, 24 (4). pp. 373-376. ISSN 00948276
To link to this article DOI: 10.1029/97GL00120
The transition parameter is based on the electron characteristics close to the Earth's dayside magnetopause, but reveals systematic ordering of other, independent, data such as the ion flow, density and temperature and the rientation and strength of the magnetic field. Potentially, therefore, it is a very useful tool for resolving ambiguities in a sequence of satellite data caused by the effects of structure and motion of the boundary; however, its application has been limited because there has been no clear understanding of how it works. We present an analysis of data from the AMPTE-UKS satellite which shows that the transition parameter orders magnetopause data because magnetic reconnection generates newly-opened field lines which coat the boundary: a direct relationship is found with the time elapsed since the boundary-layer field line was opened. A simple model is used to reproduce this behaviour.