On the influence of localized electric fields and field-aligned currents associated with polar arcs on the global potential distribution
1991 (English)In: Journal of Geophysical Research, ISSN 0148-0227, E-ISSN 2156-2202, Vol. 96, no A8, 13977-13983 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
The influence of localized field-aligned current, associated with intense transpolar arcs mostly occuring during periods of northward interplanetary magnetic field (IMF), on the global electrodynamics has been investigated using a numerical simulation model. Idealized field-aligned current distributions representing both the region 1/2 system of the auroral oval and the transpolar arc as well as a corresponding ionospheric conductivity distribution are fed into the model to calculate the potential distributions. The transpolar arc has been represented by a few alternative field-aligned current distributions which are different in the way the downward return currents are distributed in the ionosphere. For the case with a single, upward current sheet the potential pattern assumes a form similar to that typical for IMF B(y) positive conditions, namely a large dusk cell with sunward drift reaching very high latitudes and a crescent-shaped dawn cell. If the conductivity of the main auroral oval is comparable to that of the polar arc the dusk cell will have two local potential minima and thus a region of weak antisunward convection in between. For the cases with two equal but oppositely directed current sheets the potential patterns are very similar to the symmetrical two-cell reference pattern associated with solely the region 1/2 system with an exception for the immediate vicinity of the theta aurora. Depending on the direction of the polar arc current sheets the dawn-dusk electric field will either be reversed (or weakened) or intensified at the location of the transpolar arc. The presence of a reversal depend, however, not only on the relative magnitude between the polar arc currents and those of the region 1/2 system but also on the characteristics of the acceleration region and of the conductivity distribution associated with the polar arc. Comparisons are made between the model results and Viking electric field data for a number of polar arc crossings to reveal the most common electrodynamical signatures of these auroral phenomena.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
1991. Vol. 96, no A8, 13977-13983 p.
Fusion, Plasma and Space Physics
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-39287DOI: 10.1029/91JA01120ISI: A1991FZ83400022OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-39287DiVA: diva2:511342
NR 201408052012-03-212011-09-092012-03-21Bibliographically approved