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Transpolar voltage and polar cap flux during the substorm cycle and steady convection events

By Mike Lockwood, Marc Hairston, Ivan Finch and Alexis Rouillard


Transpolar voltages observed during traversals of the polar cap by the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) F-13 spacecraft during 2001 are analyzed using the expanding-contracting polar cap model of ionospheric convection. Each of the 10,216 passes is classified by its substorm phase or as a steady convection event (SCE) by inspection of the AE indices. For all phases, we detect a contribution to the transpolar voltage by reconnection in both the dayside magnetopause and in the crosstail current sheet. Detection of the IMF influence is 97% certain during quiet intervals and >99% certain during substorm/SCE growth phases but falls to 75% in substorm expansion phases: It is only 27% during SCEs. Detection of the influence of the nightside voltage is only 19% certain during growth phases, rising during expansion phases to a peak of 96% in recovery phases: During SCEs, it is >99%. The voltage during SCEs is dominated by the nightside, not the dayside, reconnection. On average, substorm expansion phases halt the growth phase rise in polar cap flux rather than reversing it. The main destruction of the excess open flux takes place during the 6- to 10-hour interval after the recovery phase (as seen in AE) and at a rate which is relatively independent of polar cap flux because the NENL has by then retreated to the far tail. The best estimate of the voltage associated with viscous-like transfer of closed field lines into the tail is around 10 kV

Publisher: American Geophysical Union
Year: 2009
OAI identifier:

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