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  1. Abstract Recent rapid thinning of West Antarctic ice shelves are believed to be caused by intrusions of warm deep water that induce basal melting and seaward meltwater export. This study uses data from three bottom-mounted mooring arrays to show seasonal variability and local forcing for the currents moving into and out of the Dotson ice shelf cavity. A southward flow of warm, salty water had maximum current velocities along the eastern channel slope, while northward outflows of freshened ice shelf meltwater spread at intermediate depth above the western slope. The inflow correlated with the local ocean surface stress curl. At the western slope, meltwater outflows followed the warm influx along the eastern slope with a ~2–3 month delay. Ocean circulation near Dotson Ice Shelf, affected by sea ice distribution and wind, appears to significantly control the inflow of warm water and subsequent ice shelf melting on seasonal time-scales.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2023
  2. Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 1, 2023
  3. Abstract

    Interstellar neutral atoms propagating into the heliosphere experience charge exchange with the supersonic solar wind (SW) plasma, generating ions that are picked up by the SW. These pickup ions (PUIs) constitute ∼25% of the proton number density by the time they reach the heliospheric termination shock (HTS). Preferential acceleration of PUIs at the HTS leads to a suprathermal, kappa-like PUI distribution in the heliosheath, which may be further heated in the heliosheath by traveling shocks or pressure waves. In this study, we utilize a dynamic, 3D magnetohydrodynamic model of the heliosphere to show that dynamic heating of PUIs at the HTS and in the inner heliosheath (IHS), as well as a background source of energetic neutral atoms (ENAs) from outside the heliopause, can explain the heliospheric ENA signal observed by the Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX) in the Voyager 2 direction. We show that the PUI heating process at the HTS is characterized by a polytropic index larger than 5/3, likely ranging betweenγ∼ 2.3 and 2.7, depending on the time in solar cycle 24 and SW conditions. The ENA fluxes at energies >1.5 keV show large-scale behavior in time with the solar cycle and SW dynamic pressure, whereas ENAs <more »1.5 keV primarily exhibit random-like fluctuations associated with SW transients affecting the IHS. We find that ≲20% of the ENAs observed at ∼0.5–6 keV come from other sources, likely from outside the heliopause as secondary ENAs. This study offers the first model replication of the intensity and evolution of IBEX-Hi ENA observations from the outer heliosphere.

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  4. The Sun emits a stream of charged particles called the solar wind, which is the primary driver of space weather and geomagnetic disturbances. Modeling and observations complement each other to help us identify and understand the physical processes governing the solar wind dynamics on different scales. Numerical models of the solar wind have greatly improved in recent years with advances in computational infrastructure and by employing data-driven or data-assimilative approaches. Designed primarily for modeling the partially ionized space plasma using adaptive mesh refinement technique on Cartesian or spherical grids, the Multi-scale Fluid-kinetic Simulation Suite (MS-FLUKSS) is arguably one of the most sophisticated numerical codes for simulating the solar wind flow. To inform potential users and interested members of the space weather community, we present a brief summary of the current state of the solar wind models developed in the MS-FLUKSS framework, with an emphasis on the 3D heliospheric MHD models driven and constrained by remote/in situ observations and empirical coronal models such as the Wang-Sheeley-Arge model. We also discuss potential scientific and operational applications of our solar wind models on prediction of space weather (e.g., high speed streams, coronal mass ejections, and interplanetary shocks) throughout the solar system.
  5. Abstract Large-scale disturbances generated by the Sun’s dynamics first propagate through the heliosphere, influence the heliosphere’s outer boundaries, and then traverse and modify the very local interstellar medium (VLISM). The existence of shocks in the VLISM was initially suggested by Voyager observations of the 2-3 kHz radio emissions in the heliosphere. A couple of decades later, both Voyagers crossed the definitive edge of our heliosphere and became the first ever spacecraft to sample interstellar space. Since Voyager 1’s entrance into the VLISM, it sampled electron plasma oscillation events that indirectly measure the medium’s density, increasing as it moves further away from the heliopause. Some of the observed electron oscillation events in the VLISM were associated with the local heliospheric shock waves. The observed VLISM shocks were very different than heliospheric shocks. They were very weak and broad, and the usual dissipation via wave-particle interactions could not explain their structure. Estimates of the dissipation associated with the collisionality show that collisions can determine the VLISM shock structure. According to theory and models, the existence of a bow shock or wave in front of our heliosphere is still an open question as there are no direct observations yet. This paper reviews the outstandingmore »observations recently made by the Voyager 1 and 2 spacecraft, and our current understanding of the properties of shocks/waves in the VLISM. We present some of the most exciting open questions related to the VLISM and shock waves that should be addressed in the future.« less
  6. Free, publicly-accessible full text available March 28, 2024