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Annales Geophysicae An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 14, issue 8
Ann. Geophys., 14, 794–802, 1996
https://doi.org/10.1007/s00585-996-0794-z
© European Geosciences Union 1996
Ann. Geophys., 14, 794–802, 1996
https://doi.org/10.1007/s00585-996-0794-z
© European Geosciences Union 1996

  31 Aug 1996

31 Aug 1996

Response of ionospheric electric fields to variations in the interplanetary magnetic field

S. P. Mishra and E. Nielsen S. P. Mishra and E. Nielsen

Abstract. The STARE system (Scandinavian Twin Auroral Radar Experiment) provides estimates of electron drift velocities, and hence also of the electric field in the high-latitude E-region ionosphere between 65 and 70 degrees latitude. The occurrence of drift velocities larger than about 400 m/s (equivalent to an electric field of 20 mV/m) have been correlated with the magnitude of the Interplanetary Magnetic Field (IMF) components Bz and By at all local times. Observation days have been considered during which both southward (Bz<0) and northward (Bz>0) IMF occurred. The occurrence of electric fields larger than 20 mV/m increases with increases in Bz magnitudes when Bz<0. It is found that the effects of southward IMF continue for some time following the northward turnings of the IMF. In order to eliminate such residual effects for Bz<0, we have, in the second part of the study, considered those days which were characterized by a pure northward IMF. The occurrence is considerably lower during times when Bz>0, than during those when Bz is negative. These results are related to the expansion and contraction of the auroral oval. The different percentage occurrences of large electric field for By>0 and By<0 components of the IMF during times when Bz>0, clearly display a dawn-dusk asymmetry of plasma flow in the ionosphere. The effects of the time-varying solar-wind speed, density, IMF fluctuations, and magnetospheric substorms on the occurrence of auroral-backscatter observations are also discussed.

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