EGU General Assembly 2021
© Author(s) 2021. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Energy transport during 3D small-scale reconnection driven by anisotropic turbulence using PIC simulations

Jeffersson Andres Agudelo Rueda1, Daniel Verscharen1,2, Robert T Wicks1,3, Christopher J Owen1, Georgios Nicolaou1,4, Andrew P Walsh5, Yannis Zouganelis5, Kai Germaschewski2, and Santiago Vargas-Dominguez6
Jeffersson Andres Agudelo Rueda et al.
  • 1University College London, Mullard Space Science Laboratory, Department of Space and Climate Physics, Holmbury Hill Rd, Dorking RH5 6NT, UK (
  • 2Space Science Center, University of New Hampshire, Durham NH, US
  • 3Department of Mathematics, Physics & Electrical Engineering, Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 8ST, UK
  • 4Southwest Research Institute, San Antonio, TX 78238, USA
  • 5European Space Astronomy Centre, European Space Agency, Spain
  • 6Observatorio Astronómico Nacional, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Colombia

Heating and energy dissipation in the solar wind remain important open questions. Turbulence and reconnection are two candidate processes to account for the energy transport to subproton scales at which, in collisionless plasmas, the energy ultimately dissipates. Understanding the effects of small-scale reconnection events in the energy cascade requires the identification of these events in observational data as well as in 3D simulations. We use an explicit fully kinetic particle-in-cell code to simulate 3D small scale magnetic reconnection events forming in anisotropic and Alfvénic decaying turbulence. We define a set of indicators to find reconnection sites in our simulation based on intensity thresholds.  According to the application of these indicators, we identify the occurrence of reconnection events in the simulation domain and analyse one of these events in detail. The event is highly dynamic and asymmetric. We study the profiles of plasma and magnetic-field fluctuations recorded along artificial-spacecraft trajectories passing near and through the reconnection region as well as the energy exchange between particles and fields during this event. Our results suggest the presence of particle heating and acceleration related to asymmetric small-scale reconnection of magnetic flux tubes produced by the anisotropic Alfvénic turbulent cascade in the solar wind. These events are related to current structures of order a few ion inertial lengths in size.

How to cite: Agudelo Rueda, J. A., Verscharen, D., Wicks, R. T., Owen, C. J., Nicolaou, G., Walsh, A. P., Zouganelis, Y., Germaschewski, K., and Vargas-Dominguez, S.: Energy transport during 3D small-scale reconnection driven by anisotropic turbulence using PIC simulations, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-8544,, 2021.


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