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Interplanetary magnetic field control of dayside auroral activity and the transfer of momentum across the dayside magnetopause

Lockwood, M. ORCID:, Sandholt, P.E., Cowley, S.W.H. and Oguti, T. (1989) Interplanetary magnetic field control of dayside auroral activity and the transfer of momentum across the dayside magnetopause. Planetary and Space Science, 37 (11). pp. 1347-1365. ISSN 0032-0633

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/0032-0633(89)90106-2


The orientation of the Interplanetary Magnetic Field (IMF) during transient bursts of ionospheric flow and auroral activity in the dayside auroral ionosphere is studied, using data from the EISCAT radar, meridian-scanning photometers, and an all-sky TV camera, in conjunction with simultaneous observations of the interplanetary medium by the IMP-8 satellite. It is found that the ionospheric flow and auroral burst events occur regularly (mean repetition period equal to 8.3 ± 0.6 min) during an initial period of about 45 min when the IMF is continuously and strongly southward in GSM coordinates, consistent with previous observations of the occurrence of transient dayside auroral activity. However, in the subsequent 1.5 h, the IMF was predominantly northward, and only made brief excursions to a southward orientation. During this period, the mean interval between events increased to 19.2 ± 1.7 min. If it is assumed that changes in the North-South component of the IMF are aligned with the IMF vector in the ecliptic plane, the delays can be estimated between such a change impinging upon IMP-8 and the response in the cleft ionosphere within the radar field-of-view. It is found that, to within the accuracy of this computed lag, each transient ionospheric event during the period of predominantly northward IMF can be associated with a brief, isolated southward excursion of the IMF, as observed by IMP-8. From this limited period of data, we therefore suggest that transient momentum exchange between the magnetosheath and the ionosphere occurs quasi-periodically when the IMF is continuously southward, with a mean period which is strikingly similar to that for Flux Transfer Events (FTEs) at the magnetopause. During periods of otherwise northward IMF, individual momentum transfer events can be triggered by brief swings to southward IMF. Hence under the latter conditions the periodicity of the events can reflect a periodicity in the IMF, but that period will always be larger than the minimum value which occurs when the IMF is strongly and continuously southward.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:No Reading authors. Back catalogue items
Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:38870

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