Cellular automata model of magnetospheric-ionospheric coupling
Abstract. We propose a cellular automata model (CAM) to describe the substorm activity of the magnetospheric-ionospheric system. The state of each cell in the model is described by two numbers that correspond to the energy content in a region of the current sheet in the magnetospheric tail and to the conductivity of the ionospheric domain that is magnetically connected with this region. The driving force of the system is supposed to be provided by the solar wind that is convected along the two boundaries of the system. The energy flux inside is ensured by the penetration of the energy from the solar wind into the array of cells (magnetospheric tail) with a finite velocity. The third boundary (near to the Earth) is closed and the fourth boundary is opened, thereby modeling the flux far away from the tail. The energy dissipation in the system is quite similar to other CAM models, when the energy in a particular cell exceeds some pre-defined threshold, and the part of the energy excess is redistributed between the neighbouring cells. The second number attributed to each cell mimics ionospheric conductivity that can allow for a part of the energy to be shed on field-aligned currents. The feedback between "ionosphere" and "magnetospheric tail" is provided by the change in a part of the energy, which is redistributed in the tail when the threshold is surpassed. The control parameter of the model is the z-component of the interplanetary magnetic field (Bz IMF), "frozen" into the solar wind. To study the internal dynamics of the system at the beginning, this control parameter is taken to be constant. The dynamics of the system undergoes several bifurcations, when the constant varies from - 0.6 to - 6.0. The Bz IMF input results in the periodic transients (activation regions) and the inter-transient period decreases with the decrease of Bz. At the same time the onset of activations in the array shifts towards the "Earth". When the modulus of the Bz IMF exceeds some threshold value, the transition takes place from periodic to chaotic dynamics. In the second part of the work we have chosen as the source the real values of the z-component of the interplanetary magnetic field taken from satellite observations. We have shown that in this case the statistical properties of the transients reproduce the characteristic features observed by Lui et al. (2000).
Key words. Magnetospheric physics (magnetosphere-ionosphere interactions) – Space plasma physics (nonlinear phenomena)