Open Access

A study of the storm event on October 21–22, 1999 by the MHD simulation

Earth, Planets and Space200658:BF03351961

Received: 18 May 2005

Accepted: 16 January 2006

Published: 12 May 2006


We carried out a high resolution three-dimensional magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) simulation of the interaction between the solar wind and the Earth’s magnetosphere during a strong magnetic storm on October 21–22, 1999. The input to the simulation was from WIND solar wind observations. As the IMF is strongly southward (−20 nT to −30 nT) for 6 hours, the geomagnetic field lines in the dayside magnetopause are eroded to the geosynchronous orbit (GEO) region by reconnection. The associated magnetic flux is transferred from the dayside magnetosphere to the tail. The reconnection region still appears near GEO region on the dayside magnetopause, even though the IMF Bz component becomes small or northward, because of the influence of the strong IMF By (30 nT). IMF lines can successively reconnect with the naked and large geomagnetic field line in the dayside flank regions. Thus, the cross polar cap potential is maintained to be large value and convection in the ionosphere is enhanced. The cross polar cap potential is governed by IMF By as well as Bz (ф ≈250 kV for Bz ≈ −20 nT and ф ≈ 300 kV for Bz ≈ − 30 nT), and it saturates during the strong southward IMF. A large energy flux enters the ionosphere at very low latitudes (50°) and the inner edge of the plasma sheet becomes very close to the Earth X = −3.2 RE for a strong magnetic storms. The open-closed boundary extends to 60° latitudes on the nightside, 72° on the dayside, 62° on dawn, and 66° on dusk. Enhanced energy flux appears at low latitudes (50°) on the nightside in simulation. Moreover, the energy flux in the dusk region (19 MLT) appears down to 55° latitude in simulation, which is consistent with the low latitude boundary of the 0.02-20 keV particles detected by TED of the NOAA-15. A convective electric field, which is penetrating to the Earth-side of the NENL, is almost comparable to that of the solar wind. The present MHD simulation study give reasonable results even for extreme conditions and thereby its usefulness is demonstrated as a physical model for space weather studies.

Key words

A global MHD simulation storm event study