Articles | Volume 17, issue 5
Special issue:
31 May 1999
31 May 1999

Numerical analysis of global ionospheric current system including the effect of equatorial enhancement

S. Tsunomura

Abstract. A modeling method is proposed to derive a two-dimensional ionospheric layer conductivity, which is appropriate to obtain a realistic solution of the polar-originating ionospheric current system including equatorial enhancement. The model can be obtained by modifying the conventional, thin shell conductivity model. It is shown that the modification for one of the non-diagonal terms (Σθφ) in the conductivity tensor near the equatorial region is very important; the term influences the profile of the ionospheric electric field around the equator drastically. The proposed model can reproduce well the results representing the observed electric and magnetic field signatures of geomagnetic sudden commencement. The new model is applied to two factors concerning polar-originating ionospheric current systems. First, the latitudinal profile of the DP2 amplitude in the daytime is examined, changing the canceling rate for the dawn-to-dusk electric field by the region 2 field-aligned current. It is shown that the equatorial enhancement would not appear when the ratio of the total amount of the region 2 field-aligned current to that of region 1 exceeds 0.5. Second, the north-south asymmetry of the magnetic fields in the summer solstice condition of the ionospheric conductivity is examined by calculating the global ionospheric current system covering both hemispheres simultaneously. It is shown that the positive relationship between the magnitudes of high latitude magnetic fields and the conductivity is clearly seen if a voltage generator is given as the source, while the relationship is vague or even reversed for a current generator. The new model, based on the International Reference Ionosphere (IRI) model, can be applied to further investigations in the quantitative analysis of the magnetosphere-ionosphere coupling problems.

Key words. Ionosphere (electric fields and currents; equatorial ionosphere; ionosphere-magnetosphere interactions)

Special issue