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Numerical cavity-resonance modelling of impulse excited Pi 2 pulsations in the magnetosphere.

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A magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) cavity-resonance model is developed to study the ultra low frequency (ULF) response in the magnetosphere to an external compressional impulse. It is assumed that the magnitude of the impulse is small enough such that non-linear terms remain negligible. The MHD differential equations are derived in a cold, non-uniform plasma imbedded in a cylindrical ambient field geometry and are solved using numerical finite difference integration methods. The crucial feature of the model is that it allows for the investigation of the response within the magnetospheric cavity to an impulse that has both temporal and spatial form. There is strong observational evidence that low-latitude Pi 2 pulsations have, or are associated with, a global propagation mechanism. Evidence alluding to the global nature of low-latitude Pi 2 is the characteristically low azimuthal (or axial) wavenumbers, (Irnl ;S 1 ). Further evidence of the global nature of Pi 2 is the lack of arrival time difference between globally separate events, as well as the similarity in the spectral content of globally separate events. As an application, the cavity-resonance model is applied to investigate the Pi 2 pulsation event. The cavity-resonance waves are excited by an impulsive perturbation at the magnetopause which is centred about the midnight meridian. The excitation signal is chosen representing the causal Pi 2 mechanism thought to be associated with the sudden, short circuiting of the cross-tail current to the auroral oval. Various aspects of the cavity-resonance wave modes are investigated and the appropriateness of this type of modelling for -the study of Pi 2 is evaluated. Numerical integration and well as Fourier and Laplace methods are used to investigate the transmission of the impulsive signal through the magnetosphere. Coupling between the isotropic (cavity) and the transverse Alfven (resonance) mode is studied. The effect of the plasmapause is considered. Longitudinal variations of polarization as well as the latitudinal phase variations of the perturbed fields are computed. Computational results are compared with observational features of the Pi 2 event.


Thesis (Ph.D.)-University of Natal, Durban, 1993.


Magnetosphere., Geomagnetic micropulsations--Mathematical models, Magnetohydrodynamics., Theses--Physics.