On resonantly excited MHD waves in the magnetotail

R. Erdélyi*, Y. Taroyan

*Corresponding author for this work

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16 Citations (SciVal)


The resonant flow instability (RFI) and the Kelvin-Helmholtz instability (KHI) are investigated as possible wave-generating mechanisms in the mantle-like boundary layer of the Earth's magnetotail where all equilibrium quantities transit continuously from magnetosheath values to values more characteristic of the tail lobe. It is shown that as in the case of a sharp interface, the KHI requiring high flow speeds in the magnetosheath is unlikely to be operative under typical conditions. The RFI which is physically distinct from the KHI may appear at lower flow speeds owing to the inhomogeneity of the mantle-like boundary layer. It is shown that the RFI can be important when the variation length-scale of the flow velocity is smaller than the variation length-scales of other equilibrium quantities such as the density and the magnetic field strength. Interpretation in terms of the wave energy flux is presented and the applicability to the magnetotail is discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1043
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics
Issue numberA1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2003


  • Alfvén and slow resonances
  • Kelvin-Helmholtz instability
  • Magnetosheath
  • Magnetotail
  • Resonant flow instability
  • Resonant MHD waves


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