• A new model for the substorm growth phase

      Hsieh, Min-Shiu; 謝旻秀; Otto, Antonius; Bristow, William; Ng, Chung-Sang; Zhang, Hui (2014-08)
      The physics of geomagnetic substorms has been under debate for a long time. In particular, the formation of a thin current sheet (CS) is a central unresolved problem because it provides the magnetotail conditions for the expansion phase onset. This dissertation presents a new CS thinning mechanism based on midnight magnetic flux depletion (MFD), which is caused by sunward convection to balance dayside reconnection during periods of southward interplanetary magnetic field. The results demonstrate that MFD is a highly efficient mechanism to generate a very thin CS in the near-Earth tail. This study also examines CS formation under the influence of adiabatic lobe compression in combination with MFD and proposes a double-current sheet evolution at distinct locations in the near-Earth region and mid-tail region. The results suggest that substorm expansion onset is associated only with near-Earth onset of magnetic reconnection, while mid-tail reconnection causes bursty bulk flows. In addition, this dissertation investigates the changes of the auroral morphology associated with the magnetotail evolution. An ionospheric map is constructed based on Tsyganenko 96 magnetic field model corrected by magnetic flux conservation. By employing MFD, the mapping results such as the equatorward expansion of the open/closed field boundary, the convergent motion of strong field-aligned currents, and the location of electron and ion isotropy boundaries are consistent with typical ionospheric observations. These results demonstrate that MFD is the first model that can consistently explain and predict the typical magnetotail and ionospheric evolution during the substorm growth phase and shed light on the physics of the growth phase aurora.