PREBREAKUP ARCS - A COMPARISON BETWEEN THEORY AND EXPERIMENT
1991 (English)In: Journal of Geophysical Research, ISSN 0148-0227, E-ISSN 2156-2202, Vol. 96, 13967-13975 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
We have developed a model describing the structure of a prebreakup arc based on an ionospheric Cowling channel and its extension into the magnetosphere. A coupled two-circuit representation of the substorm current wedge is used which is locally superimposed on both westward and eastward electrojets. We find that brighter, more unstable prebreakup arcs are formed in the premidnight (southwest of the Harang Discontinuity) than in the postmidnight (northeast of the Harang Discontinuity) sector. This contributes to the observed prevalence of auroral activity in the premidnight sector. Also, our model predicts that the north-south dimensions of the current wedge in the ionosphere should vary from a few kilometers at an invariant latitude (LAMBDA) of 62-degrees to hundreds of kilometers above LAMBDA = 68-degrees. Comparison of the model results with the extensive observations of Marklund et al. (1983) for a specific arc observed just after onset shows good agreement, particularly for the magnitude of the polarization electric field and the arc size. We conclude that this agreement is further evidence that the substorm breakup arises from magnetosphere-ionosphere coupling in the near magnetosphere and that the steady state model developed here is descriptive of the breakup arc before inductive effects become dominant.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
1991. Vol. 96, 13967-13975 p.
Fusion, Plasma and Space Physics
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-92884DOI: 10.1029/91JA01268OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-92884DiVA: diva2:514328
NR 201408052012-04-072012-04-072012-04-07Bibliographically approved