HF-radar observations of the dayside magnetic merging rate: A Geospace Environment Modeling boundary layer campaign study

Goose Bay HF-radar data have been used to determine the dayside reconnection electric field which transports energy from the solar wind into the Earth's magnetosphere and ionosphere. The speed of the ionospheric plasma flow perpendicular to the open/closed boundary is determined in the rest frame of the boundary along each of the 16 beam directions of the HF radar. The observations were made during one of the Geospace Environment Modeling program's boundary layer campaigns. The period from 1200 to 1600 UT on March 29, 1992, was one of generally southward interplanetary magnetic field (IMF). The y component of the IMF was negative for most of the time. Despite the generally steady IMF conditions, the merging rate observed by the radar shows a great deal of temporal structure. The radar observations have been compared with the results from the assimilative mapping of ionospheric electrodynamics (AMIE) procedure. Initially, the merging inferred from the radar observations accounts for a significant portion of the total polar cap potential drop, suggesting that a majority of the potential drop was generated within the radar field of view and must therefore be due to magnetic merging at the magnetopause. At the end of the period, however, the potential drop derived from the radar measurements is distinctly less than that derived from the AMIE procedure. At that time, however, satellite and ground magnetometer data show that a substorm was in progress, and there is substantial evidence for a strong nightside contribution to the polar cap potential drop. An additional feature that appears in this data set is that the orientation of the open/closed magnetic field separatrix with respect to magnetic latitude is well correlated to the y component of the IMF.


Publication status:
Authors: Baker, K. B., Rodger, A. S., Lu, G.

1 January, 1997
Journal of Geophysical Research / 102
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