Ionospheric plasma convection in the southern hemisphere

The first ionospheric plasma convection maps ordered by the y- and z-components of the IMF using only data from the southern hemisphere are presented. These patterns are determined from line-of-sight velocity measurements of the Polar Anglo-American Conjugate Experiment (PACE) located at Halley, Antarctica, with the majority of the observations coming from 65°–75° magnetic latitude. For IMF Bz positive and negative conditions, the observed plasma motions are consistent with a standard two cell pattern. For the periods from dusk through midnight to dawn, flow speeds are at least twice as large for Bz negative component compared with Bz positive. The observations about noon are significantly different from each other. For Bz positive, little ordered plasma motion is observed. For Bz negative, there are large anti-sunward flows the orientation of which is ordered by IMF By. These By orientated flows are consistent with theoretical predictions, and are anti-symmetric to those reported from the northern hemisphere. The two most significant differences from previous observations are that the convection reversal in the late morning sector for By negative conditions occurs at about a 4° lower latitude than the Heppner and Maynard (1987) model. This may be due to a seasonal bias in the PACE dataset. Also, the separatrix between eastward and westward flow near midnight has a very different shape dependent upon the orientation of IMF By. For positive By conditions, the separatrix is observed at progressively lower latitudes at later local times, but for By negative conditions, the separatrix appears at increasingly higher latitudes at later times.


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Authors: Leonard, J.M., Pinnock, M., Rodger, A.S., Dudeney, J.R., Greenwald, R.A., Baker, K.B.

On this site: Michael Pinnock
1 January, 1995
Journal of Atmospheric and Terrestrial Physics / 57
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