Video_1_On the Importance of Spatial and Velocity Resolution in the Hybrid-Vlasov Modeling of Collisionless Shocks.mp4 (36.79 MB)
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Video_1_On the Importance of Spatial and Velocity Resolution in the Hybrid-Vlasov Modeling of Collisionless Shocks.mp4

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posted on 17.05.2018, 12:23 by Yann Pfau-Kempf, Markus Battarbee, Urs Ganse, Sanni Hoilijoki, Lucile Turc, Sebastian von Alfthan, Rami Vainio, Minna Palmroth

In hybrid-Vlasov plasma modeling, the ion velocity distribution function is propagated using the Vlasov equation while electrons are considered a charge-neutralizing fluid. It is an alternative to particle-in-cell methods, one advantage being the absence of sampling noise in the moments of the distribution. However, the discretization requirements in up to six dimensions (3D position, 3V velocity) make the computational cost of hybrid-Vlasov models higher. This is why hybrid-Vlasov modeling has only recently become more popular and available to model large-scale systems. The hybrid-Vlasov model Vlasiator is the first to have been successfully applied to model the solar-terrestrial interaction. It includes in particular the bow shock and magnetosheath regions, albeit in 2D-3V configurations so far. The purpose of this study is to investigate how Vlasiator parameters affect the modeling of a plasma shock in a 1D-3V simulation. The setup is similar to the Earth's bow shock in previous simulations, so that the present results can be related to existing and future magnetospheric simulations. The parameters investigated are the spatial and velocity resolution, as well as the phase space density threshold, which is the key parameter of the so-called sparse velocity space. The role of the Hall term in Ohm's law is also studied. The evaluation metrics used are the convergence of the final state, the complexity of spatial profiles and ion distributions as well as the position of the shock front. In agreement with previous Vlasiator studies it is not necessary to resolve the ion inertial length and gyroradius in order to obtain kinetic phenomena. While the code remains numerically stable with all combinations of resolutions, it is shown that significantly increasing the resolution in one space but not the other leads to unphysical results. Past a certain level, decreasing the phase space density threshold bears a large computational weight without clear physical improvement in the setup used here. Finally, the inclusion of the Hall term shows only minor effects in this study, mostly because of the 1D configuration and the scales studied, at which the Hall term is not expected to play a major role.