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Annales Geophysicae An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: review paper 12 Jul 2019

Submitted as: review paper | 12 Jul 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Annales Geophysicae (ANGEO).

Terrestrial ion circulation in space

Masatoshi Yamauchi Masatoshi Yamauchi
  • Swedish Institute of Space Physics, Box 812, S-98128 Kiruna, Sweden

Abstract. Observations of the terrestrial ion transport and budget in the magnetosphere are reviewed, with stress on low energy ions in the high-altitude polar region and inner magnetosphere, for which Cluster significantly improved the knowledge. Outflowing ions from the ionosphere are classified into three types in terms of energy: (1) as cold ions refilling the plasmasphere faster than Jeans escape, (2) as cold supersonic ions such as the polar wind, and (3) as suprathermal ions energized by wave-particle interaction or parallel potential acceleration. Majority of the suprathermal ions are further energized at higher altitudes becoming hot with much higher velocity than the escape velocity even for heavy ions. This makes heavy ions in this category more abundant than cold refilling or cold supersonic flow.

The immediate destination of these terrestrial ions varies from the plasmasphere, the inner magnetosphere including those entering to the ionosphere in the other, the magnetotail, and the solar wind (magnetosheath and cusp/plasma mantle). Due to time variable return from the magnetotail, ions with different routes and energy meet in the inner magnetosphere, making it a zoo of different types of ions in both energy and energy distribution. This zoo is not yet completely entangled, and includes many unanswered phenomena such as mass-dependent energization although the mass-independent drift theory is well justified. Nearly half of heavy ions in this zoo also finally escape to space, mainly due to magnetopause shadowing (overshooting of ion drift beyond the magnetopause) and charge exchange near the mirror altitude where the exospheric neutral density is the highest.

The amount of heavy ions mixing with the solar wind is already the same or larger than that into the magnetotail, and is large enough to directly extract the solar wind kinetic energy in the cusp/plasma mantle through the mass-loading effect and drive the cusp current system. Considering the past solar and solar wind conditions, ion escape might have even influenced the evolution of the terrestrial biosphere.

Masatoshi Yamauchi
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Status: open (until 29 Aug 2019)
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Masatoshi Yamauchi
Masatoshi Yamauchi
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Short summary
The terrestrial ion transport was synthesised, with stress on high-latitude polar region and the inner magnetosphere where Custer improved the knowledge. After classifying the outflow (cold refilling, cold supersonic flow, and suprathermal/hot outflow), ion dynamics in the inner magnetosphere was summarized. With a careful consideration of O+ loss process, more than half the outflow is finally lost to the space, reaching high enough escape rate to even influence the evolution of the biosphere.
The terrestrial ion transport was synthesised, with stress on high-latitude polar region and the...