Articles | Volume 21, issue 7
Ann. Geophys., 21, 1553–1565, 2003
Ann. Geophys., 21, 1553–1565, 2003

  31 Jul 2003

31 Jul 2003

Interhemispheric comparison of spectral width boundary as observed by SuperDARN radars

K. Hosokawa1, E. E. Woodfield2, M. Lester2, S. E. Milan2, N. Sato3, A. S. Yukimatu3, and T. Iyemori4 K. Hosokawa et al.
  • 1Department of Geophysics, Graduate School of Science, Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan
  • 2Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Leicester, Leicester, UK
  • 3National Institute of Polar Research, Tokyo, Japan
  • 4Data Analysis Center for Geomagnetism and Space Magnetism, Graduate School of Science, Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan

Abstract. Previous studies have shown that dayside equatorward edge of coherent HF radar backscatter having broad Doppler spectral width is coincident with the equatorward edge of the cusp particle precipitation. This enables the boundary between broad and narrow spectral width backscatters (spectral width boundary) in the dayside magnetic local time sector to be used as a proxy for the open/closed field line boundary. The present case study employs magnetically conjugate SuperDARN coherent HF radars to make an inter-hemispheric comparison of the location and variation of the spectral width boundaries. Agreement between the magnetic latitudes of the boundaries in both hemispheres is remarkable. Correlation coefficients between the latitudes of the boundaries are larger than 0.70. Temporal variation of the spectral width boundary follows the same equatorward trend in both hemispheres. This is consistent with the accumulation of open flux in the polar cap by dayside low-latitude magnetopause reconnection, expected when IMF Bz is negative. Boundaries in both hemispheres also exhibit short-lived poleward motions superposed on the general equator-ward trend, which follows the onset of substorm expansion phase and a temporary northward excursion of IMF Bz during substorm recovery phase. There is an interhemispheric difference in response time to the substorm occurrence between two hemispheres. The spectral width boundary in the Southern Hemisphere starts to move poleward 10 min earlier than that in the Northern Hemisphere. We discuss this difference in terms of interhemispheric asymmetry of the substorm breakup region in the longitudinal direction associated with the effect of IMF By.

Key words. Ionosphere (ionosphere-magnetosphere interactions; plasma convection) – Magnetospheric physics (magnetopause, cusp, boundary layers)