Review of Pi2 models
Publication date: 21 Oct 2011
Authors: Keiling, A., and Takahashi, K.
Journal: Space Sci. Rev.
Copyright: SpringerMore than half a century after the discovery of Pi2 pulsations, Pi2 research is still vigorous and evolving. Especially in the last decade, new results have provided supporting evidence for some Pi2 models, challenged earlier interpretations, and led to entirely new models. We have gone beyond the inner magnetosphere and have explored the outer magnetosphere, where Pi2 pulsations have been observed in unexpected places. The new Pi2 models cover virtually all magnetotail regions and their coupling, from the reconnection site via the lobes and plasma sheet to the ionosphere. In addition to understanding the Pi2 phenomenon in itself, it has also been important to study Pi2 pulsations in their role as transient manifestations of the coupling between the magnetosphere and the ionosphere. The transient Pi2 is an integral part of the substorm phenomenon, especially during substorm onset. Key questions about the workings of magnetospheric substorms are still awaiting answers, and research on Pi2 pulsations can help with those answers. Furthermore, the role of Pi2 pulsations in association with other dynamic magnetospheric modes has been explored in the last decade. Thus, the application of Pi2 research has expanded over the years, assuring that Pi2 research will remain active in this decade and beyond. Here we review recent advances, which have given us a new understanding of Pi2 pulsations generated at various places in the magnetosphere during different magnetospheric modes. We review seven Pi2 models found in the literature and show how they are supported by observations from spacecraft and ground observatories as well as numerical simulations. The models have different degrees of maturity; while some enjoy wide acceptance, others are still speculative.