Investigations of auroral electric fields and currents
2007 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other scientific)
The Cluster spacecraft have been used to investigate auroral electric fields and field-aligned currents (FACs) at geocentric distances between 4 and 7 Re. The electric fields have been measured by the EFW instrument, consisting of two pairs of spherical probes, and the FACs have been calculated from measurements of the magnetic field by the FGM fluxgate magnetometer. CIS ion and PEACE electron measurements have also been used. Event studies as well as statistical studies have been used to determine the characteristics of the auroral electric fields. In two events where regions of both spatial and temporal electric field variations could be identified, the quasi-static electric fields were, compared to the Alfvén waves, found to be more intense and contribute more to the downward Poynting flux. With the use of the four Cluster spacecraft, the quasi-static electric field structures were found to be relatively stable on the time scale of at least half a minute. Quasi-static electric fields were found throughout the altitude range covered by Cluster in the auroral region. The electric field structures were found both in the upward and downward current regions. Bipolar and monopolar electric fields, corresponding to U- and S-shaped potential structures, have been found at different plasma boundaries, consistent with the view that the plasma conditions and the geometry of the current system are related to the shape of the electric field. The type of the bipolar electric field structures (convergent or divergent) was further found to be consistent with the FAC direction. The typical scale sizes of the electric field structures have been determined to be between 4 and 5 km, when mapped to ionospheric altitude. The most intense FACs associated with intense electric fields were found for small FAC widths. The widths of upward and downward FACs were similar.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH , 2007. , vii, 48 p.
Trita-EE, ISSN 1653-5146 ; 2007:056
auroral physics, auroral electric fields, auroral potential structures, auroral particle acceleration
Fusion, Plasma and Space Physics
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-4512ISBN: 978-91-7178-761-3OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-4512DiVA: diva2:12624
2007-11-09, F3, Lindstedsvägen 26, Stockholm, 10:00
Lynch, Kristina, Professor
QC 201007302007-10-222007-10-222010-07-30Bibliographically approved
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