Alfvén Waves and Energy Transformation in Space Plasmas

Detta är en avhandling från Uppsala : Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis

Sammanfattning: This thesis is focused on the role of Alfvén waves in the energy transformation and transport in the magnetosphere. Different aspects of Alfvén wave generation, propagation and dissipation are considered. The study involves analysis of experimental data from the Freja, Polar and Cluster spacecraft, as well as theoretical development. An overview of the linear theory of Alfvén waves is presented, including the effects of fnite parallel electron inertia and fnite ion gyroradius, and nonlinear theory is developed for large amplitude Alfvén solitons and structures. The methodology is presented for experimental identification of dispersive Alfvén waves in a frame moving with respect to the plasma, which facilitates the resolution of the space-time ambiguity in such measurements. Dispersive Alfvén waves are identified on field lines from the topside ionosphere up to the magnetopause and it is suggested they play an important role in magnetospheric physics. One of the processes where Alfvén waves are important is the establishment of the field aligned current system, which transports the energy from the reconnection regions at the magnetopause to the ionosphere, where a part of the energy is dissipated. The main mechanism for the dissipation in the top-side ionosphere is related to wave-particle interactions leading to particle energization/heating. An observed signature of such a process is the presence of parallel energetic electron bursts associated with dispersive Alfvén waves. The accelerated electrons (electron beams) are unstable with respect to the generation of high frequency plasma wave modes. Therefore this thesis also demonstrates an indirect coupling between low frequency Alfvén wave and high frequency oscillations.