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  1. Abstract

    Mining of substorm magnetic field data reveals the formation of two X‐lines preceded by the flux accumulation at the tailward end of a thin current sheet (TCS). Three‐dimensional particle‐in‐cell simulations guided by these pre‐onset reconnection features are performed, taking also into account weak external driving, negative charging of TCS and domination of electrons as current carriers. Simulations reveal an interesting multiscale picture. On the global scale, they show the formation of two X‐lines, with stronger magnetic field variations and inhomogeneous electric fields found closer to Earth. The X‐line appearance is preceded by the formation of two diverging electron outflow regions embedded into a single diverging ion outflow pattern and transforming into faster electron‐scale reconnection jets after the onset. Distributions of the agyrotropy parameters suggest that reconnection is provided by ion and then electron demagnetization. The bulk flow and agyrotropy distributions are consistent with MMS observations.

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  2. Abstract

    Reconstruction of the magnetic field, electric current, and plasma pressure is provided using a new data mining (DM) method with weighted nearest neighbors (NN) for strong storms with the storm activity indexSym‐H < −300 nT, the Bastille Day event (July 2000), and the 20 November 2003 superstorm. It is shown that the new method significantly reduces the statistical bias of the original NN algorithm toward weaker storms. In the DM approach the magnetic field is reconstructed using a small NN subset of the large historical database, with the subset numberKNN ≫ 1being still much larger than any simultaneous multiprobe observation number. This allows one to fit with observations a very flexible magnetic field model using basis function expansions for equatorial and field‐aligned currents, and at the same time, to keep the model sensitive to storm variability. This also allows one to calculate the plasma pressure by integrating the quasi‐static force balance equation with the isotropic plasma approximation. For strong storms of particular importance becomes the resolution of the eastward current, which prevents the divergence of the pressure integral. It is shown that in spite of the strong reduction of the dominant NN number in the new weighted NN algorithm to capture strong storm features, it is still possible to resolve the eastward current and to retrieve plasma pressure distributions. It is found that the pressure peak for strong storms may be as close as2.1REto Earth and its value may exceed 300 nPa.

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