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Annales Geophysicae An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 16, issue 3
Ann. Geophys., 16, 292–297, 1998
https://doi.org/10.1007/s00585-998-0292-6
© European Geosciences Union 1998
Ann. Geophys., 16, 292–297, 1998
https://doi.org/10.1007/s00585-998-0292-6
© European Geosciences Union 1998

  31 Mar 1998

31 Mar 1998

The current-voltage relationship revisited: exact and approximate formulas with almost general validity for hot magnetospheric electrons for bi-Maxwellian and kappa distributions

P. Janhunen1,2 and A. Olsson2 P. Janhunen and A. Olsson
  • 1Finnish Meteorological Institute, Geophysical Research, Helsinki, Finland
  • 2Swedish Institute of Space Physics, Uppsala Division, Uppsala, Sweden

Abstract. We derive the current-voltage relationship in the auroral region taking into account magnetospheric electrons for the bi-Maxwellian and kappa source plasma distribution functions. The current-voltage formulas have in principle been well known for a long time, but the kappa energy flux formulas have not appeared in the literature before. We give a unified treatment of the bi-Maxwellian and kappa distributions, correcting some errors in previous work. We give both exact results and two kinds of approximate formulas for the current density and the energy flux. The first approximation is almost generally valid and is practical to compute. The first approximation formulas are therefore suitable for use in simulations. In the second approximation we assume in addition that the thermal energy is small compared to the potential drop. This yields even simpler linear formulas which are suitable for many types of event studies and which have a more transparent physical interpretation than the first approximation formulas. We also show how it is possible to derive the first approximation formulas even for those distributions for which the exact results can not be computed analytically. The kappa field-aligned conductance value turns out always to be smaller than the corresponding Maxwellian conductance. We also verify that the obtained kappa current density and energy flux formulas go to Maxwellian results when κ→∞.

Key words. Current-voltage relationship · Bi-Maxwellian distributions · Kappa distribution

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