University of Leicester
Coxon_et_al-2014-Journal_of_Geophysical_Research__Space_Physics.pdf (1.9 MB)

The magnitudes of the regions 1 and 2 Birkeland currents observed by AMPERE and their role in solar wind-magnetosphere-ionosphere coupling

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journal contribution
posted on 2015-10-08, 10:27 authored by JC Coxon, SE Milan, LBN Clausen, BJ Anderson, H Korth
In this paper we present the first large-scale statistical study of the influence of magnetic reconnection on the magnitude of the regions 1 and 2 Birkeland field-aligned currents (FACs). While previous studies have employed single spacecraft measurements to construct a statistical picture of the location and density of the Birkeland currents, it has hitherto been difficult to compare in situ measurements of the solar wind with instantaneous global field-aligned current measurements. To that end, we utilize the Active Magnetosphere Planetary Electrodynamics Response Experiment (AMPERE), which yields field-aligned current density in both hemispheres at a cadence of 10 min. We quantify the amount of current flowing in the regions 1 (R1) and 2 (R2) FACs, and we compare these with the dayside reconnection rate Φ[subscript: D] deduced from interplanetary parameters from the OMNI data set and with the AL index to examine whether magnetic reconnection is responsible for driving currents in the coupled magnetosphere-ionosphere system. We find that current magnitudes are strongly correlated with both Φ[subscript: D] and AL index. We also find that R1 currents tend to be higher than R2 currents during periods of magnetic reconnection, suggesting leakage of current across the polar cap or an association with the substorm current wedge.



Journal of Geophysical Research. Space Physics , 2014, 119 (12), pp. ?-? (12)

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Journal of Geophysical Research. Space Physics


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