SABRE observations of Pi2 pulsations: case studies
- Radio and Space Plasma Physics Group, Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Leicester, Leicester, LE1 7RH
Abstract. The characteristics of substorm-associated Pi2 pulsations observed by the SABRE coherent radar system during three separate case studies are presented. The SABRE field of view is well positioned to observe the differences between the auroral zone pulsation signature and that observed at mid-latitudes. During the first case study the SABRE field of view is initially in the eastward electrojet, equatorward and to the west of the substorm-enhanced electrojet current. As the interval progresses, the western, upward field-aligned current of the substorm current wedge moves westward across the longitudes of the radar field of view. The westward motion of the wedge is apparent in the spatial and temporal signatures of the associated Pi2 pulsation spectra and polarisation sense. During the second case study, the complex field-aligned and ionospheric currents associated with the pulsation generation region move equatorward into the SABRE field of view and then poleward out of it again after the third pulsation in the series. The spectral content of the four pulsations during the interval indicate different auroral zone and mid-latitude signatures. The final case study is from a period of low magnetic activity when SABRE observes a Pi2 pulsation signature from regions equatorward of the enhanced substorm currents. There is an apparent mode change between the signature observed by SABRE in the ionosphere and that on the ground by magnetometers at latitudes slightly equatorward of the radar field of view. The observations are discussed in terms of published theories of the generation mechanisms for this type of pulsation. Different signatures are observed by SABRE depending on the level of magnetic activity and the position of the SABRE field of view relative to the pulsation generation region. A twin source model for Pi2 pulsation generation provides the clearest explanation of the signatures observed.