Space Science Reviews

, Volume 113, Issue 1–2, pp 127–206 | Cite as

Potential Plasma Instabilities For Substorm Expansion Onsets

  • A.T.Y. Lui

Abstract

Space plasmas present intriguing and challenging puzzles to the space community. Energy accessible to excite instabilities exists in a variety of forms, particularly for the magnetospheric environment prior to substorm expansion onsets. A general consensus of the pre-expansion magnetosphere is the development of a thin current sheet in the near-Earth magnetosphere. This review starts with a short account of the two major substorm paradigms. Highlights of some observations pertaining to the consideration of potential plasma instabilities for substorm expansion are given. Since a common thread of these paradigms is the development of a thin current sheet, several efforts to model analytically a thin current sheet configuration are described. This leads to a review on the instability analyses of several prominent candidates for the physical process responsible for substorm expansion onset. The potential instabilities expounded in this review include the cross-field current, lower-hybrid-drift, drift kink/sausage, current driven Alfvénic, Kelvin-Helmholtz, tearing, and entropy anti-diffusion instabilities. Some recent results from plasma simulations relevant to the investigation of these plasma instabilities are shown. Although some of these instabilities are generally conceived to be excited in spatially localized regions in the magnetosphere, their potentials in yielding global consequences are also explored.

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© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

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  • A.T.Y. Lui

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