Energy dissipation during a small substorm
Abstract. The relative importance of the two most likely modes of input energy dissipation during the substorm of 8 May 1986, with an onset at 12:15 UT (CDAW 9E event), is examined here. The combination of data from the interplanetary medium, the magnetotail and the ground allowed us, first of all, to establish the sequence of phenomena which compose this substorm. In order to calculate the magnetospheric energetics we have improved the Akasofu model, by adding two more terms for the total magnetospheric output energy. The first one represents the energy consumed for the substorm current wedge transformation, supplied by the asymmetric ring current. This was found to be 39% of the solar wind energy entering the magnetosphere from the start of the growth phase up to the end of the expansion phase. The second term represents the energy stored in the tail or returned to the solar wind. Our results suggest that the substorm leaves the magnetosphere in a lower energy state, since, according to our calculations, 23% of the energy that entered the magnetosphere during the whole disturbance was returned back to the solar wind. Finally, it is interesting to note that during the growth phase the driven system grow considerably, consuming 36% of the solar wind energy which entered the magnetosphere during this early phase of the substorm.