The excitation of convection in the cusp region as observed by the SuperDARN radars

SuperDARN observations from the interval 1330 UT to 1500 UT, 17 April 1996, are presented. During this interval, five radars covered 12 hours of magnetic local time on the dayside, including the cuspregion, in the Northern hemisphere, and one observed the cuspregion in the Southern hemisphere. In response to a southward turning of the interplanetary magnetic field, backscatter appears in all radar fields-of-view, first in the cuspregion and then in the dawn and dusk sectors after a delay consistent with an anti-sunward propagation speed of 1.5 km s−1. In the Northern hemisphere cuspregion, antisunward plasma drift and poleward-moving forms are observed with a 10 min periodicity, which is typically the radar signature of flux transfer events. Such signatures of transient reconnection are not seen in the Southern hemisphere cuspregion, where predominantly azimuthal plasma drift is observed. In the dawn and dusk sectors, the radars observe sunward plasma drift in the convection return flow region, and transient, sunward-moving backscatter features which have a periodicity of approximately 10 mins.


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Authors: Milan, S.E., Lester, M., Dudeney, J.R., Greenwald, R.A., Sofko, G., Villain, J.P., Lepping, R.P.

1 January, 2001
Advances in Space Research / 27
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