Flux transfer events (FTE) are thought to be patchy (spatially and temporally limited) reconnection events occurring in the dayside magnetopause. They were first discovered by Russell and Elphic (1978) and Haerendel et al. (1978), who studied the magnetic field measurements in boundary normal coordinates near the magnetopause, and found bipolar signatures in the Bn component (outward along the boundary normal): first outward and then inward (normal FTE) or the other way around (reverse FTE). The occurrence frequency of these signatures is about 8 minutes (Russell et al., 1996). For a statistical study, see Sanny et al. (1998).

One of the most interesting aspects of FTEs are their signatures on ground: they are still not known for sure (e.g., Glassmeier and Stellmacher, 1996). Number of possibilities exist:

One important point is that different source mechanisms can generate similar ground-based signatures, especially in magnetometer measurements. For example, travelling convection vortices (TCV) have been shown to be related with solar wind pressure pulses.

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