The use of the power density for identifying reconnection regions
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In the vicinity of magnetic reconnection, magnetic energy is transferred into kinetic energy. A reconnection region hence corresponds to a load, and it should manifest itself as large and positive values of the power density, E·J ≫ 0, where E is the electric field and J the current density. In this article we analyze Cluster plasma sheet data from 2001–2004 to investigate the use of the power density for identifying possible magnetic reconnection events from large sets of observed data. From theoretical arguments we show that an event with inline image pW/m3 in the Earth's magnetotail observed by the Cluster instruments (X <− 10RE and inline image) is likely to be associated with reconnection. The power density can be used as a primary indicator of potential reconnection regions, but selected events must be reviewed separately to confirm any possible reconnection signatures by looking for other signatures such as Hall electric and magnetic fields and reconnection jets. The power density can be computed from multispacecraft data, and we argue that the power density can be used as a tool for identifying possible reconnection events from large sets of data, e.g., from the Cluster and the Magnetospheric Multiscale missions.
CitationHamrin, M.; Andersson, L.; Vaivads, A.; Pitkanen, T.; Gunell, H. (2015). The use of the power density for identifying reconnection regions. , Journal of Geophysical Research A: Space Physics, Vol. 120, Issue 10, 8644-8662, DOI: 10.1002/2015JA021535.