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PIC Simulations of the Dayside Magnetopause: Origins and Evolution of the Electron and Ion Populations in its Boundary Layers
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  • Jean Berchem,
  • Giovanni Lapenta,
  • Robert Richard,
  • William Paterson,
  • C Philippe Escoubet
Jean Berchem
University of California Los Angeles

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Giovanni Lapenta
Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
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Robert Richard
University of California Los Angeles
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William Paterson
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
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C Philippe Escoubet
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Recent observations and simulations have revealed a wide variety of plasma processes and multiscale structures at the dayside magnetopause. In this presentation, we focus on the origins and evolution of the plasma populations observed in the magnetopause boundary layers. We present the results of Particle-In-Cell (PIC) simulations encompassing large volumes of the dayside magnetosphere. The implicit PIC code used in the study was initialized from a global MHD state of the magnetosphere for southward interplanetary field conditions. Three-dimensional plots of the perpendicular slippage indicates that reconnection occurs over most of the dayside magnetopause. However, the simulation reveals that the reconnection region has a much more filamentary structure than the X-line expected from the extrapolation of 2D models and that multiscale structures thread the reconnection outflow. In particular, the simulation indicates the formation of multiple layers of electrons with significant field-aligned velocities within the main magnetopause current layer. We use velocity distribution functions at different locations in the reconnection outflow to characterize the origins and evolution of the electron and ion populations of the magnetosheath and magnetospheric boundary layers.