Extreme Birkeland Currents Are More Likely During Geomagnetic Storms on the Dayside of the Earth

We examine the statistical distribution of large-scale Birkeland currents measured by the Active Magnetosphere and Planetary Electrodynamics Response Experiment in four unique categories of geomagnetic activity for the first time: quiet times, storm times, quiet-time substorms, and storm-time substorms. A novel method is employed to sort data into one of these four categories, and the categorizations are provided for future research. The mean current density is largest during substorms and its standard deviation is largest during geomagnetic storms. Current densities which are above a low threshold are more likely during substorms, but extreme currents are far more likely during geomagnetic storms, consistent with a paradigm in which geomagnetic storms represent periods of enhanced variability over quiet times. We demonstrate that extreme currents are most likely to flow within the Region 2 current during geomagnetic storms. This is unexpected in a paradigm of the current systems in which Region 1 current is generally larger.


Publication status:
Authors: Coxon, J.C., Chisham, G. ORCIDORCID record for G. Chisham, Freeman, M.P. ORCIDORCID record for M.P. Freeman, Forsyth, C., Walach, M-T., Murphy, K.R., Vines, S.K., Anderson, B.J., Smith, A.W., Fogg, A.R.

On this site: Gareth Chisham, Mervyn Freeman
12 December, 2023
Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics / 128
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