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Universal Time effects on substorm growth phases and onsets

Lockwood, M. ORCID: (2023) Universal Time effects on substorm growth phases and onsets. Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics, 128 (11). e2023JA031671. ISSN 2169-9402

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1029/2023JA031671


Universal Time (UT) variations in many magnetospheric state indicators and indices have recently been reviewed by Lockwood and Milan (2023). Key effects are introduced into magnetospheric dynamics by the eccentric nature of Earth’s magnetic field, features that cannot be reproduced by a geocentric field model. This paper studies the UT variation in the occurrence of substorm onsets and uses a simple Monte-Carlo model to show how it can arise for an eccentric field model from the effect of the diurnal motions of Earth’s poles on the part of the geomagnetic tail where substorms are initiated. These motions are in any reference frame that has an X axis that points from the centre of the Earth to the centre of the Sun and are caused by Earth’s rotation. The premise behind the model is shown to be valid using a super-posed epoch study of the conditions leading up to onset. These studies also show the surprising degree of preconditioning ahead of the growth phase that is required, on average, for onset to occur. A key factor is the extent to which pole motions caused by Earth’s rotation influence the near-Earth tail at the relevant X coordinate. Numerical simulations by a global MHD model of the magnetosphere reveal the effect required to generate the observed UT variations and with right order of amplitude, albeit too small by a factor of about one third. Reasons why this discrepancy may have arisen for the simulations used are discussed.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:113854
Publisher:American Geophysical Union


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