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Session 19 - Flares II.
Oral session, Tuesday, July 01
Ballroom A, Chair: Ronald Murphy

[19.02] Can Three-Dimensional Instabilities Enable Fast Reconnection?

A. N. McClymont (IfA, U. Hawaii)

Most studies of magnetic reconnection have assumed a two-dimensional geometry. Gas swept into the current sheet halts the collapse to the near-singularity required to effectively dissipate magnetic energy. The gas is squeezed out of the current sheet along the separatrices at the local sound speed (McClymont and Craig, 1996, Ap. J. 466, 487). Although this allows collapse to proceed (at a slower pace) it is not yet clear whether all the gas can be removed, particularly in a closed system. Therefore it is of interest to examine how relaxing invariance along the third dimension might allow escape of gas from the current sheet and reconnection to proceed at an explosive rate. Uchida and Sakurai (1977, Solar Phys. 51, 413) have examined the possibility of reconnection rate enhancement by the three-dimensional interchange instability. Some three-dimensional analyses (e.g. Craig and Fabling, 1995, Ap. J. 462, 969) have assumed analytic forms of solution which preclude many outcomes. Another three dimensional simulation (Strauss, 1993, Geophys. Res. Lett., 20, 325) assumes a strong magnetic field along the current sheet. We discuss ideal instabilities and other phenomena which might allow gas to escape more effectively from the current sheet, and enhance the reconnection rate.

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