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Taylor scale and effective magnetic Reynolds number determination from plasma sheet and solar wind magnetic field fluctuations

Taylor scale and effective magnetic Reynolds number determination from plasma sheet and solar wind magnetic field fluctuations

Publication date: 04 October 2007

Authors: Weygand, J.M. et al.

Journal: Journal of Geophysical Research
Volume: 112
Issue: A10
Page: A10201
Year: 2007

Copyright: American Geophysical Union

Cluster data from many different intervals in the magnetospheric plasmas sheet and the solar wind are employed to determine the magnetic Taylor microscale from simultaneous multiple point measurements. For this study we define the Taylor scale as the square root of the ratio of the mean square magnetic field (or velocity) fluctuations to the mean square spatial derivatives of their fluctuations. The Taylor scale may be used, in the assumption of a classical Ohmic dissipation function, to estimate effective magnetic Reynolds numbers, as well as other properties of the small scale turbulence. Using solar wind magnetic field data, we have determined a Taylor scale value of 2400 ± 100 km, which is used to obtain an effective magnetic Reynolds number of about 260,000 ± 20,000, and in the plasma sheet we calculated a Taylor scale of 1900 ± 100 km, which allowed us to obtain effective magnetic Reynolds numbers in the range of about 7 to 110. The present determination makes use of a novel extrapolation technique to derive a statistically stable estimate from a range of small scale measurements. These results may be useful in magnetohydrodynamic modeling of the solar wind and the magnetosphere and may provide constraints on kinetic theories of dissipation in space plasmas.

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