Articles | Volume 16, issue 7
31 Jul 1998
31 Jul 1998

Simultaneous ionospheric and magnetospheric observations of azimuthally propagating transient features during substorms

T. K. Yeoman, T. Mukai, and T. Yamamoto

Abstract. During the 6th August 1995, the CUTLASS Finland HF radar ran in a high time resolution mode, allowing measurements of line-of-sight convection velocities along a single beam with a temporal resolution of 14 s. Data from such scans, during the substorm expansion phase, revealed pulses of equatorward flow exceeding ~600 m s–1 with a duration of ~5 min and a repetition period of ~8 min. Each pulse of enhanced equatorward flow was preceded by an interval of suppressed flow and enhanced ionospheric Hall conductance. These transient features, which propagate eastwards away from local midnight, have been interpreted as ionospheric current vortices associated with field-aligned current pairs. The present study reveals that these ionospheric convection features appear to have an accompanying signature in the magnetosphere, comprising a dawnward perturbation and dipolarisation of the magnetic field and dawnward plasma flow, measured in the geomagnetic tail by the Geotail spacecraft, located at L = 10 and some four hours to the east, in the postmidnight sector. These signatures are suggested to be the consequence of the observation of the same field aligned currents in the magnetosphere. Their possible relationship with bursty Earthward plasma flow and magnetotail reconnection is discussed.

Key words. Ionosphere (Auroral · ionosphere) · Magnetospheric Physics (Magnetotail; Storms and substorms)