Articles | Volume 20, issue 5
31 May 2002
 | 31 May 2002

Noon ionospheric signatures of a sudden commencement following a solar wind pressure pulse

A. Vontrat-Reberac, J.-C. Cerisier, N. Sato, and M. Lester

Abstract. Using experimental data from the Cutlass Super-DARN HF radars and from a subset of ground magnetometers of the IMAGE Scandinavian chain, the response of the ionosphere in the noon sector to a solar wind pressure increase is studied. The emphasis is on the signature of the convection vortices and of the Hall currents that are associated with the pair of opposite parallel currents flowing along the morning and afternoon high-latitude magnetic field lines. We show that the sudden commencement is characterised by an equatorward convection, immediately followed (within less than 3 min) by a strong poleward plasma motion. These results are shown to agree qualitatively with the global model of sudden commencement of Araki (1994).

Key words. Ionosphere (plasma convection; electric fields and currents) – Magnetospheric physics (solar wind-magnetosphere interactions)