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The location and rate of dayside reconnection during an interval of southward interplanetary magnetic field

By M. Pinnock, G. Chisham, I.J. Coleman, M.P. Freeman, M. Hairston and J.-P. Villain

Abstract

Using ionospheric data from the SuperDARN radar network and a DMSP satellite we obtain a comprehensive description of the spatial and temporal pattern of dayside reconnection. During a period of southward interplanetary magnetic field (IMF), the data are used to determine the location of the ionospheric projection of the dayside magnetopause reconnection X-line. From the flow of plasma across the projected X-line, we derive the reconnection rate across 7 h of longitude and estimate it for the total length of the X-line footprint, which was found to be 10 h of longitude. Using the Tsyganenko 96 magnetic field model, the ionospheric data are mapped to the magnetopause, in order to provide an estimate of the extent of the reconnection X-line. This is found to be similar to38 R(E)in extent, spanning the whole dayside magnetopause from dawn to dusk flank. Our results are compared with previously reported encounters by the Equator-S and Geotail spacecraft with a reconnecting magnetopause, near the dawn flank, for the same period. The SuperDARN observations allow the satellite data to be set in the context of the whole magnetopause reconnection X-line. The total potential associated with dayside reconnection was similar to150 kV The reconnection signatures detected by the Equator-S satellite mapped to a region in the ionosphere showing continuous flow across the polar cap boundary, but the reconnection rate was variable and showed a clear spatial variation, with a distinct minimum at 14:00 magnetic local time which was present throughout the 30-min study period

Topics: Physics, Atmospheric Sciences
Publisher: European Geophysical Society
Year: 2003
DOI identifier: 10.5194/angeo-21-1467-2003
OAI identifier: oai:nora.nerc.ac.uk:12933
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