A global magnetohydrodynamic simulation of the magnetosheath and magnetosphere when the interplanetary magnetic field is northward
A new high-resolution global magnetohydrodynamic simulation model is used to investigate the configuration of the magnetosphere when the interplanetary magnetic field (IMF) is northward. For northward IMF the magnetospheric configuration is dominated by magnetic reconnection at the tail lobe magnetopause tailward of the polar cusp. This results in a local thickening of the plasma sheet equatorward of the region of reconnection and the establishment of a convection system with two cells in each lobe. In the magnetosheath the plasma density and pressure decrease near the subsolar magnetopause, forming a depletion region. Along the flanks of the magnetosphere the magnetosheath flow is accelerated to values larger than the solar wind velocity. The magnetopause shape from the simulations is consistent with the empirically determined shape.