Analogue model studies of induction effects at auroral latitudes
Abstract. In addition to field observations and numerical models, geomagnetic induction effects can be studied by scaled analogue model experiments. We present here results of analogue model studies of the auroral electrojet with an Earth model simulating the Arctic Ocean and inland conductivity structures in northern Fennoscandia. The main elements of the analogue model used were salt water simulating the host rock, an aluminium plate corresponding to the ocean and graphite pieces producing the inland highly conducting anomalies. The electrojet was a time-harmonic line current flowing at a (simulated) height of 100 km above northern Fennoscandia. The period simulated was 9 min.
The analogue model results confirmed the well-known rapid increase of the vertical field when the coast is approached from the continent. The increase of the horizontal field due to induced ocean currents was demonstrated above the ocean, as well as the essentially negligible effect of these currents on the horizontal field on the continent.
The behaviour of the magnetic field is explained with a simple two-dimensional thin-sheet model. The range, or the adjustment distance, of the ocean effect inland was found to be some hundreds of kilometers, which also agrees with earlier results of the Siebert-Kertz separation of IMAGE magnetometer data. The modelled inland anomalies evidently had too large conductivities, but on the other hand, their influence decayed on scales of only some tens of kilometers.
Analogue model results, thin-sheet calculations, and field observations show that the induction effect on the horizontal magnetic field Bx near the electrojet is negligible. On the other hand, the vertical component Bz is clearly affected by induced currents in the ocean. Evidence of this is the shift of the zero point of Bz 0-1° southwards from the maximum of Bx. The importance of these results are discussed, emphasizing the determination of ionospheric currents.