An ionospheric convection signature of antiparallel reconnection
This paper sets out a critical test of the antiparallel merging hypothesis. For the conflicting theories of antiparallel and subsolar reconnection, we model the location of reconnection regions on the dayside magnetopause, their ionospheric footprints, and the resulting ionospheric convection patterns. We show that antiparallel reconnection, under particular seasonal and solar wind conditions, gives rise to a distinctive ionospheric convection signature. Specifically, around midwinter with a quasi-steady solar wind and IMF Bz < 0 and |By | ∼ |Bz |, we predict equatorward flow in the noon sector with poleward flow either side of noon if the antiparallel merging hypothesis is correct. In contrast, we predict poleward flow in the noon sector in midwinter under these solar wind conditions if the subsolar reconnection hypothesis is correct and in other seasons under both hypotheses. We go on to present radar and spacecraft data for an interval which satisfies the above seasonal and solar wind criteria, demonstrating that the convection signature of antiparallel merging is present. This is not consistent with the subsolar merging hypothesis.
Authors: Coleman, Iain J., Chisham, Gareth ORCID record for Gareth Chisham, Pinnock, Mike, Freeman, Mervyn P. ORCID record for Mervyn P. Freeman