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Title: Geospace Plume and Its Impact on Dayside Magnetopause Reconnection Rate

The role a geospace plume in influencing the efficiency of magnetopause reconnection is an open question with two contrasting theories being debated. A local‐control theory suggests that a plume decreases both local and global reconnection rates, whereas a global‐control theory argues that the global reconnection rate is controlled by the solar wind rather than local physics. Observationally, limited numbers of point measurements from spacecraft cannot reveal whether a local change affects the global reconnection. A distributed observatory is hence needed to assess the validity of the two theories. We use THEMIS and Los Alamos National Laboratory spacecraft to identify the occurrence of a geospace plume and its contact with the magnetopause. Global evolution and morphology of the plume is traced using GPS measurements. SuperDARN is then used to monitor the distribution and the strength of dayside reconnection. Two storm‐time geospace plume events are examined and show that as the plume contacts the magnetopause, the efficiency of reconnection decreases at the contact longitude. The amount of local decrease is 81% and 68% for the two events, and both values are consistent with the mass loading effect of the plume if the plume's atomic mass is ∼4 amu. Reconnection in the surrounding is enhanced, and when the solar wind driving is stable, little variation is seen in the cross polar cap potential. This study illuminates a pathway to resolve the role of cold dense plasma on solar wind‐magnetosphere coupling, and the observations suggest that plumes redistribute magnetopause reconnection activity without changing the global strength substantially.

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Award ID(s):
2025570 1935110
Author(s) / Creator(s):
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Publisher / Repository:
DOI PREFIX: 10.1029
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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