On flow reversal boundaries and transpolar voltage in average models of high-latitude convection
Lockwood, M. (1991) On flow reversal boundaries and transpolar voltage in average models of high-latitude convection. Planetary and Space Science, 39 (3). pp. 397-409. ISSN 0032-0633
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1016/0032-0633(91)90002-R
The implications of polar cap expansions, contractions and movements for empirical models of high-latitude plasma convection are examined. Some of these models have been generated by directly averaging flow measurements from large numbers of satellite passes or radar scans; others have employed more complex means to combine data taken at different times into large-scale patterns of flow. In all cases, the models have implicitly adopted the assumption that the polar cap is in steady state: they have all characterized the ionospheric flow in terms of the prevailing conditions (e.g. the interplanetary magnetic field and/or some index of terrestrial magnetic activity) without allowance for their history. On long enough time scales, the polar cap is indeed in steady state but on time scales shorter than a few hours it is not and can oscillate in size and position. As a result, the method used to combine the data can influence the nature of the convection reversal boundary and the transpolar voltage in the derived model. This paper discusses a variety of effects due to time-dependence in relation to some ionospheric convection models which are widely applied. The effects are shown to be varied and to depend upon the procedure adopted to compile the model.