Articles | Volume 18, issue 2
29 Feb 2000
29 Feb 2000

High-time resolution conjugate SuperDARN radar observations of the dayside convection response to changes in IMF By

G. Chisham, M. Pinnock, A. S. Rodger, and J. -P. Villain

Abstract. We present data from conjugate SuperDARN radars describing the high-latitude ionosphere's response to changes in the direction of IMF By during a period of steady IMF Bz southward and Bx positive. During this interval, the radars were operating in a special mode which gave high-time resolution data (30 s sampling period) on three adjacent beams with a full scan every 3 min. The location of the radars around magnetic local noon at the time of the event allowed detailed observations of the variations in the ionospheric convection patterns close to the cusp region as IMF By varied. A significant time delay was observed in the ionospheric response to the IMF By changes between the two hemispheres. This is explained as being partially a consequence of the location of the dominant merging region on the magnetopause, which is ~8-12RE closer to the northern ionosphere than to the southern ionosphere (along the magnetic field line) due to the dipole tilt of the magnetosphere and the orientation of the IMF. This interpretation supports the anti-parallel merging hypothesis and highlights the importance of the IMF Bx component in solar wind-magnetosphere coupling.

Key words: Ionosphere (plasma convection) - Magnetospheric physics (magnetopause, cusp, and boundary layers; solar wind - magnetosphere interactions)