Dynamic non-null magnetic reconnection in three dimensions II: composite solutions

A. L. Wilmot-Smith, G. Hornig, E. R. Priest

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    8 Citations (Scopus)


    In this series of papers we examine magnetic reconnection in a domain where the magnetic field does not vanish and the non-ideal region is localised in space so that the reconnection is fully three dimensional. In a previous paper we presented a technique for obtaining analytical solutions to the full set of stationary resistive MHD equations and examined specific examples of non-ideal reconnective solutions. Here we further develop the model, noting that certain ideal solutions may be superimposed onto the fundamental non-ideal solutions. This provides the first analytical demonstration of a lack of coupling between reconnective and non-reconnective flows. We examine the effect of imposing various such ideal flows. Significant implications are found for the evolution of magnetic flux in the reconnection process so that several reconnection solutions may have the same reconnection rate, as defined by the integral of the parallel electric field along the reconnection line, but each appear quite different in terms of their global effect. It is shown that, in contrast to the two-dimensional case, in three dimensions there is a very wide variety of physically different steady reconnection solutions.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)515-534
    Number of pages20
    JournalGeophysical & Astrophysical Fluid Dynamics
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - 2009


    • Magnetohydrodynamics
    • Plasma
    • Magnetic reconnection
    • Kinematic reconnection
    • Aligned current
    • Null points
    • Models
    • Skeletons
    • Evolution
    • Line


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