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Volume 26, issue 11
Ann. Geophys., 26, 3585-3596, 2008
https://doi.org/10.5194/angeo-26-3585-2008
© Author(s) 2008. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Special issue: STAMMS: Spatio-Temporal Analysis and Multipoint Measurements...

Ann. Geophys., 26, 3585-3596, 2008
https://doi.org/10.5194/angeo-26-3585-2008
© Author(s) 2008. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

  17 Nov 2008

17 Nov 2008

Spectra and anisotropy of magnetic fluctuations in the Earth's magnetosheath: Cluster observations

O. Alexandrova1, C. Lacombe2, and A. Mangeney2 O. Alexandrova et al.
  • 1University of Cologne, Institute of Geophysics and Meteorology, Albertus-Magnus-Platz 1, 50923 Cologne, Germany
  • 2LESIA, Observatoire de Paris, CNRS, UPMC, Université Paris Diderot, 5 place J. Janssen, 92190 Meudon, France

Abstract. We investigate the spectral shape, the anisotropy of the wave vector distributions and the anisotropy of the amplitudes of the magnetic fluctuations in the Earth's magnetosheath within a broad range of frequencies [10−3, 10] Hz which corresponds to spatial scales from ~10 to 105 km. We present the first observations of a Kolmogorov-like inertial range of Alfvénic fluctuations δB2}~f−5/3 in the magnetosheath flanks, below the ion cyclotron frequency fci. In the vicinity of fci, a spectral break is observed, like in solar wind turbulence. Above the break, the energy of compressive and Alfvénic fluctuations generally follows a power law with a spectral index between −3 and −2. Concerning the anisotropy of the wave vector distribution, we observe a clear change in its nature in the vicinity of ion characteristic scales: if at MHD scales there is no evidence for a dominance of a slab (kł>>k) or 2-D (k>>kł) turbulence, above the spectral break, (f>fci, kcpi>1) the 2-D turbulence dominates. This 2-D turbulence is observed in six selected one-hour intervals among which the average ion β varies from 0.8 to 10. It is observed for both the transverse and compressive magnetic fluctuations, independently on the presence of linearly unstable modes at low frequencies or Alfvén vortices at the spectral break. We then analyse the anisotropy of the magnetic fluctuations in a time dependent reference frame based on the field B and the flow velocity V directions. Within the range of the 2-D turbulence, at scales [1,30]kcpi, and for any β we find that the magnetic fluctuations at a given frequency in the plane perpendicular to B have more energy along the B×V direction. This non-gyrotropy of the fluctuations at a fixed frequency is consistent with gyrotropic fluctuations at a given wave vector, with k>>kł, which suffer a different Doppler shift along and perpendicular to V in the plane perpendicular to B.

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