Tyler Workman

ORCID Identifier(s)


Graduation Semester and Year




Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Physics



First Advisor

Frederick D Wilder


The Kelvin-Helmholtz instability (KHI) is an important mechanism whereby the solar wind transports energy and momentum into the magnetosphere. One unresolved topic is the role of kinetic phenomena and turbulence in mediating this energy transport. Previous studies hypothesized that the prevalence of electrostatic solitary waves, an artifact of kinetic turbulence, decreased along the flanks as the instability grew. These previous studies had been conducted using 3 KHI events. For this study, we test the hypothesis and further investigate how these solitary waves affect the local plasma with an expanded list of 15 KHI events. A combination of solar wind data from OMNI and in-situ plasma measurements from the NASA Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) mission was taken for the duration of these events. Analysis of the findings show that solitary wave occurrence seems to coincide with ion temperature isotropy and electron temperature anisotropy biased to the direction parallel to the magnetic field. It was further observed that solitary wave occurrence was highly negatively correlated with the position of the KHI event along the magnetospheric flank, supporting the previous hypothesis. Additional correlations to solar wind velocity and pressure were also found.


Physics, Space physics, Kelvin-Helmholtz, Kelvin-Helmholtz instability, Instability, Instabilities, Kinetic instabilities, Nonlinear kinetic instabilities, Non-linear kinetic instabilities, Solitary waves, Solitary structures, Time domain structures, TDS, Solar wind, NASA OMNI, OMNIWeb, MMS, Magnetospheric multiscale, Magnetosphere, Magnetosheath, Bow shock, Parker spiral, Plasma, Plasma Physics, Ionosphere, Convection current, Plasma convection, Electron, Ion, Electron phase, Electron phase-space holes, Election phase space holes, Temperature anisotropy, Temperature isotropy, Solitary wave data, Turbulence, Magnetic reconnection, Reconnection ratio, Thesis, Study, Workman, Wilder, PySPEDAS, SPEDAS


Physical Sciences and Mathematics | Physics


Degree granted by The University of Texas at Arlington

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