The excitation of ionospheric convection
Lockwood, M. (1991) The excitation of ionospheric convection. Journal of Atmospheric and Terrestrial Physics, 53 (3-4). pp. 177-199. ISSN 00219169
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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/0021-9169(91)90103-E
This review presents recent observations of high-latitude ionospheric plasma convection, obtained using the EISCAT radar in the 'Polar' experiment mode. The paper is divided into two main parts. Firstly, the delay in the response of dayside high-latitude flows to changes in the interplanetary magnetic field is discussed. The results show the importance for the excitation of dayside convection of the transfer of magnetic flux from the dayside into the tail lobe. Consequently, ionospheric convection should be thought of as the sum of two intrinsically time-dependent flow patterns. The first of these patterns is directly driven by solar wind-magnetosphere coupling, dominates ionospheric flows on the dayside, is associated with an expanding polar cap area and is the F-region flow equivalent of the DP-2 E-region current system. The second of the two patterns is driven by the release of energy stored in the geomagnetic tail, dominates ionospheric flows on the nightside, is associated with a contracting polar cap and is equivalent to the DP-1, or substorm, current system. In the second half of the paper, various transient flow bursts observed in the vicinity of the dayside cusp are studied. These radar data, combined with simultaneous optical observations of transient dayside aurorae, strongly suggest that momentum is transferred across the magnetopause and into the ionosphere in a series of bursts, each associated with voltages of 30-80 kV. Similarities between these bursts and flux transfer events observed at the magnetopause are discussed.