Validation of the stream function method used for reconstruction of experimental ionospheric convection patterns
Abstract. In this study we test a stream function method suggested by Israelevich and Ershkovich for instantaneous reconstruction of global, high-latitude ionospheric convection patterns from a limited set of experimental observations, namely, from the electric field or ion drift velocity vector measurements taken along two polar satellite orbits only. These two satellite passes subdivide the polar cap into several adjacent areas. Measured electric fields or ion drifts can be considered as boundary conditions (together with the zero electric potential condition at the low-latitude boundary) for those areas, and the entire ionospheric convection pattern can be reconstructed as a solution of the boundary value problem for the stream function without any preliminary information on ionospheric conductivities. In order to validate the stream function method, we utilized the IZMIRAN electrodynamic model (IZMEM) recently calibrated by the DMSP ionospheric electrostatic potential observations. For the sake of simplicity, we took the modeled electric fields along the noon-midnight and dawn-dusk meridians as the boundary conditions. Then, the solution(s) of the boundary value problem (i.e., a reconstructed potential distribution over the entire polar region) is compared with the original IZMEM/DMSP electric potential distribution(s), as well as with the various cross cuts of the polar cap. It is found that reconstructed convection patterns are in good agreement with the original modelled patterns in both the northern and southern polar caps. The analysis is carried out for the winter and summer conditions, as well as for a number of configurations of the interplanetary magnetic field.
Key words: Ionosphere (electric fields and currents; plasma convection; modelling and forecasting)