Observations at the magnetopause and in the auroral ionosphere of momentum transfer from the solar wind
Lockwood, M. and Cowley, S.W.H. (1988) Observations at the magnetopause and in the auroral ionosphere of momentum transfer from the solar wind. Advances in Space Research, 8 (9-10). pp. 281-299. ISSN 02731177
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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/0273-1177(88)90142-1
Recent radar studies of field-perpendicular flows in the auroral ionosphere, in conjunction with observations of the interplanetary medium immediately upstream of the Earth's bow shock, have revealed direct control of dayside convection by the Bz component of the interplanetary magnetic field (IMF). The ionospheric flows begin to respond to both northward and southward turnings of the IMF impinging upon the magnetopause after a delay of only a few minutes in the early afternoon sector, rising to about 15 minutes nearer dawn and dusk. In both the polar cap and the auroral oval, the subsequent rise and decay times are of order 5–10 minutes. We conclude there is very little convection “flywheel” effect in the dayside polar ionosphere and that only newly-opened flux tubes impart significant momentum to the ionosphere, in a relatively narrow region immediately poleward of the cusp. These findings concerning the effects of quasi-steady reconnection have important implications for any ionospheric signatures of transient reconnection which should be considerably shorter-lived than thought hitherto. In order to demonstrate the difficulty of uniquely identifying a Flux Transfer Event (FTE) in ground-based magnetometer data, we present observations of an impulsive signature, identical with that expected for an FTE if data from only one station is studied, following an observed magnetopause compression when the IMF was purely northward. We also report new radar observations of a viscous-like interaction, consistent with an origin on the flanks of the magnetotail and contributing an estimated 15–30kV to the total cross-cap potential during quiet periods.