Monitoring the plasmapause using geomagnetic field line resonances

This paper discusses the use of ground magnetometer data to derive plasma mass density profiles of the dayside plasmapause region with spatial and temporal resolution in the range 0.15-0.4 R-E and 20-60 min. This is achieved using cross-phase techniques to identify field line resonance signatures that are not apparent in power spectra. Under quiet conditions, mass density profiles do not show a distinct plasmapause and closely resemble electron density profiles for similar conditions. Under more active conditions the plasmapause can be clearly identified, and its width can be resolved in about 20% of the cases. Spatial integration effects smooth the mass density profiles near the plasmapause boundaries, while comparison of the mass and electron densities allows estimates of the heavy ion mass loading. Temporal variations in the plasmapause position and plasmaspheric density depletions are readily resolved. Sudden changes in solar wind conditions cause a redistribution of plasma within similar to20 min, probably in response to penetration of the magnetospheric electric field into the plasmasphere. Field line resonances occur daily and provide a useful tool for investigating the plasmapause region, especially in conjunction with VLF whistler and in situ particle and imaging experiments. Furthermore, the extensive existing suites of magnetometer data permit retrospective studies of focus intervals.


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Authors: Menk, F.W., Mann, I.R., Smith, A.J., Waters, C.L., Clilverd, M.A. ORCIDORCID record for M.A. Clilverd, Milling, D.K.

On this site: Mark Clilverd
1 January, 2004
Journal of Geophysical Research / 109
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