Location of Repository

Observed tail current systems associated with bursty bulk flows and auroral streamers during a period of multiple substorms

By Colin Forsyth, M. Lester, S. W. H. Cowley, I. Dandouras, A. N. Fazakerley, R. C. Fear, H. U. Frey, Adrian Grocott, A. Kadokura, E. Lucek, H. Rème, Steve E. Milan and J. F. Watermann


This paper was published as Annales Geophysicae, 2008, 26 (1), pp. 167-184. It is also available from http://www.ann-geophys.net/26/167/2008/angeo-26-167-2008.htmlWe present a multi-instrument study of a substorm bursty bulk flow (BBF) and auroral streamer. During a substorm on 25 August 2003, which was one of a series of substorms that occurred between 00:00 and 05:00 UT, the Cluster spacecraft encountered a BBF event travelling Earthwards and duskwards with a velocity of ~500 km s−1 some nine minutes after the onset of the substorm. Coincident with this event the IMAGE spacecraft detected an auroral streamer in the substorm auroral bulge in the Southern Hemisphere near the footpoints of the Cluster spacecraft. Using FluxGate Magnetometer (FGM) data from the four Cluster spacecraft, we determine the field-aligned currents in the BBF, using the curlometer technique, to have been ~5 mA km−2. When projected into the ionosphere, these currents give ionospheric field-aligned currents of ~18 A km−2, which is comparable with previously observed ionospheric field-aligned currents associated with BBFs and auroral streamers. The observations of the BBF are consistent with the plasma "bubble" model of Chen and Wolf (1993). Furthermore, we show that the observations of the BBF are consistent with the creation of the BBF by the reconnection of open field lines Earthward of a substorm associated near-Earth neutral line

Publisher: Copernicus Publications on behalf of the European Geosciences Union
Year: 2008
DOI identifier: 10.5194/angeo-26-167-2008
OAI identifier: oai:lra.le.ac.uk:2381/7843

Suggested articles



  1. (2008). 184 C. Forsyth et al.: Current systems of bursty bulk flows and auroral streamers Earthward flow bursts, auroral streamers, and small expansions, doi
  2. (1989). A new magnetic coordinate system for conjugate studies at high latitudes, doi
  3. (1989). A.: A magnetospheric magnetic field model with a warped tail current sheet, doi
  4. (1988). Analysis of multipoint magnetometer data, doi
  5. (1998). Are northsouth aligned auroral structures an ionospheric manifestation of bursty bulk flows?, doi
  6. (2004). Auroral streamers: characteristics of associated precipitation,convection and field-aligned currents, doi
  7. (1992). Bursty bulk flows in the inner central plasma sheet, doi
  8. (2005). Cluster observations of travelling compression regions in the near-tail, doi
  9. (1996). Details of current disruption and diversion in simulations of magnetotail dynamics, doi
  10. (1996). Detection of localized, plasma-depleted flux tubes or bubbles in the midtail plasma sheet, doi
  11. (1995). Direct determination of the local ionospheric Hall conductance distribution from two-dimensional electric and magnetic field data: Application of the method using models of typical ionospheric electrodynamic situations, doi
  12. (2000). Energy-dispersed ions in the plasma sheet boundary layer and associated phenomena: Ion heating, electron acceleration, Alfve´n waves, broadband waves, perpendicular electric field spikes, and auroral emissions, doi
  13. Far ultraviolet imaging from the IMAGE spacecraft. 2. Wideband FUV imaging, Space Sci. doi
  14. (2001). First multispacecraft ion measurements in and near the Earth’s magnetosphere with the identical Cluster Ion Spectrometry (CIS) experiment, doi
  15. (2001). First results of electric field and density observations by Cluster EFW based on initial months of operation, doi
  16. Flow bursts and auroral activations: Onset timing and foot point location, doi
  17. (1999). Hybrid Input Algorithm: An event-oriented magnetospheric model, doi
  18. (1961). Interplanetary magnetic field and the auroral zones, doi
  19. (2004). Interplanetary magnetic field control of the location of substorm onset and auroral features in the conjugate hemispheres, doi
  20. (1999). Ionospheric disturbance magnetic field continuation from the ground to the ionosphere using spherical elementary current systems, doi
  21. (2002). Ionospheric signatures of bursty bulk flows, doi
  22. (2006). Joint observations by Cluster satellites of bursty bulk flows in the magnetotail, doi
  23. (2005). Localized fast flow disturbance observed in the plasma sheet and in the ionosphere, doi
  24. (1950). Magneto-Hydrodynamic Shocks, doi
  25. (1967). Magnetopause structure and attitude from Explorer 12 observations, doi
  26. (1997). Magnetotail flow bursts: association to global magnetospheric circulation, relationship to ionospheric activity and direct evidence for localization, doi
  27. (1998). Method of characteristics in spherical geometry applied to a Harang-discontinuity situation, doi
  28. (1998). Minimum and Maximum Variance Analysis, in: Analysis Methods for Multi-Spacecraft Data, edited by:
  29. (2004). Multi-instrument observations of the ionospheric counterpart of a bursty bulk flow in the near-Earth plasma sheet, doi
  30. (2007). Multi-scale observations of magnetotail flux transport during IMF-northward non-substorm intervals, doi
  31. (1983). Multiple spacecraft observations of interplanetary shocks Four spacecraft determination of shock normals, doi
  32. (2000). Multiple-spacecraft observation of a narrow transient plasma jet in the Earth’s plasma sheet, doi
  33. (1996). Neutral line model of substorms: Past results and present view, doi
  34. (2006). Observations of the response time of high-latitude ionospheric convection to variations in the interplanetary magnetic field using EISCAT and IMP-8 data, doi
  35. (2005). On the formation of a plasma bubble, doi
  36. (2004). On the propagation of bubbles in the geomagnetic tail, doi
  37. (1973). Parallel electric fields, doi
  38. (1997). PEACE: a Plasma Electron And Current Experiment, doi
  39. (1984). Plasma sheet behavior during substorms, Washington D.C. American Geophysical Union Geophysical Monograph Series, doi
  40. (1998). Solar Wind Electron Proton Alpha Monitor (SWEPAM) for the Advanced Composition Explorer, Space Sci. doi
  41. (1978). Some characteristics of the parallel electric field acceleration of electrons over discrete auroral arcs as observed from two rocket flights,
  42. (1999). Spatial distribution of conductances and currents associated with a north-south auroral form during a multiple-substorm period, doi
  43. (1998). Spatial gradients and the volumetric tensor, in: Analysis Methods for Multi-Spacecraft Data, edited by:
  44. (1994). Statistical characteristics of bursty bulk flow events, doi
  45. (2004). Stereo CUTLASS – A new capability for the SuperDARN HF radars, doi
  46. (1998). The Advanced Composition Explorer, Space Sci. doi
  47. (2001). The Cluster Magnetic Field Investigation: Overview of in-flight performance and initial results, doi
  48. (1984). The Distant Geomagnetic Tail in Theory and Observation, in: Magnetic Reconnection in Space and Laboratory Plasmas, edited by: doi
  49. (2001). Wind survey of high-speed bulk flows and field-aligned beams in the nearEarth plasma sheet, doi
  50. (2008). www.ann-geophys.net/26/167/2008/ C. Forsyth et al.: Current systems of bursty bulk flows and auroral streamers 183 doi

To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.