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On the importance of interplanetary magnetic field B on polar cap patch formation

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journal contribution
posted on 2012-10-24, 09:08 authored by Q-H. Zhang, B-C. Zhang, R-Y. Liu, H-G. Yang, H-Q. Hu, Z-J. Hu, S-L. Liu, M. W. Dunlop, M. Lockwood, I. W. McCrea, J. Moen, M. Lester
[1] A number of poleward moving events were observed between 1130 and 1300 UT on 11 February 2004, during periods of southward interplanetary magnetic field (IMF), while the steerable antenna of the European Incoherent Scatter (EISCAT) Svalbard radar (ESR) and the Tromsø VHF radar pointed nearly northward at low elevation. In this interval, simultaneous SuperDARN CUTLASS Finland radar measurements showed poleward moving radar aurora forms (PMRAFs) which appeared very similar to the density enhancements observed by the ESR northward pointing antenna. These events appeared quasiperiodically with a period of about 10 min. Comparing the observations from the above three radars, it is inferred that there is an almost one-to-one correspondence between the poleward moving plasma concentration enhancements (PMPCEs) observed by the ESR and the VHF radar and the PMRAFs measured by the CUTLASS Finland radar. These observations are consistent with the interpretation that the polar cap patch material was generated by photoionization at subauroral latitudes and that the plasma was structured by bursts of magnetopause reconnection giving access to the polar cap. There is clear evidence that plasma structuring into patches was dependent on the variability in IMF ∣By∣. The duration of these events implies that the average evolution time of the newly opened flux tubes from the subauroral region to the polar cap was about 33 min.



Journal of Geophysical Research A: SPACE PHYSICS, 2011, 116 (5)


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Journal of Geophysical Research A: SPACE PHYSICS


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