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Impacts of cold ionospheric ions in magnetic reconnection at the Earth's magnetopause and magnetotail
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  • Sergio Toledo Redondo,
  • Mats Andre,
  • Nicolas Aunai,
  • Charles Chappell,
  • Jérémy Dargent,
  • Stephen Fuselier,
  • Alex Glocer,
  • Daniel Graham,
  • Stein Haaland,
  • Michael Hesse,
  • Lynn Kistler,
  • Benoit Lavraud,
  • Wenya Li,
  • Thomas Moore,
  • Sarah Vines,
  • Paul Tenfjord
Sergio Toledo Redondo
University of Murcia

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Mats Andre
Swedish Inst Space Physics
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Nicolas Aunai
Laboratoire de Physique des Plasmas, CNRS
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Charles Chappell
Utah State Univ
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Jérémy Dargent
University of Pisa
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Stephen Fuselier
Southwest Research Institute
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Alex Glocer
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Daniel Graham
IRF Swedish Institute of Space Physics Uppsala
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Stein Haaland
Birkeland Centre for Space Science, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway
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Michael Hesse
University of Bergen
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Lynn Kistler
Univ New Hampshire
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Benoit Lavraud
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Wenya Li
IRF Swedish Institute of Space Physics Uppsala
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Thomas Moore
NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr
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Sarah Vines
University of Texas at San Antonio
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Paul Tenfjord
University of Bergen
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The Earth’s magnetosphere is filled by particles from two sources: the solar wind and the ionosphere. Ionospheric ions are initially cold and contain He+ and O+, in addition to to H+. Depending on their initial magnetic latitude and local time, and the state of the magnetosphere, they may contribute to the plasmasphere, the plasma sheet, the ring current, the warm plasma cloak etc. Depending on which path they follow in the magnetosphere, some of these ionospheric ions remain cold when they reach the two key reconnection regions: the Earth’s magnetopause and the plasma sheet in the tail. In this presentation, we will first review previous statistical works that quantify the number of cold/ionospheric ions near these two regions. Several works have attempted to quantify these populations, but they are inherently difficult to characterize due to their low energy, often below the spacecraft potential. We will also discuss the impacts they have on the magnetic reconnection process. Ionospheric ions mass-load the regions where reconnection takes place and change the characteristic Alfven speed, resulting in a smaller reconnection electric field. They also take a portion of the energy that is imparted to particles, affecting the energy budget of magnetic reconnection. Finally, they introduce new length and time scales, associated to their gyroradius and gyroperiod. We will discuss what are the implications of these impacts for the evolution of the magnetosphere – solar wind interactions.