A comparison between ion characteristics observed by the POLAR and DMSP spacecraft in the high-latitude magnetosphere
Abstract. We study here the injection and transport of ions in the convection-dominated region of the Earth's magnetosphere. The total ion counts from the CAMMICE MICS instrument aboard the POLAR spacecraft are used to generate occurrence probability distributions of magnetospheric ion populations. MICS ion spectra are characterised by both the peak in the differential energy flux, and the average energy of ions striking the detector. The former permits a comparison with the Stubbs et al. (2001) survey of He2+ ions of solar wind origin within the magnetosphere. The latter can address the occurrences of various classifications of precipitating particle fluxes observed in the topside ionosphere by DMSP satellites (Newell and Meng, 1992). The peak energy occurrences are consistent with our earlier work, including the dawn-dusk asymmetry with enhanced occurrences on the dawn flank at low energies, switching to the dusk flank at higher energies. The differences in the ion energies observed in these two studies can be explained by drift orbit effects and acceleration processes at the magnetopause, and in the tail current sheet. Near noon at average ion energies of ≈1keV, the cusp and open LLBL occur further poleward here than in the Newell and Meng survey, probably due to convection- related time-of-flight effects. An important new result is that the pre-noon bias previously observed in the LLBL is most likely due to the component of this population on closed field lines, formed largely by low energy ions drifting earthward from the tail. There is no evidence here of mass and momentum transfer from the solar wind to the LLBL by non-reconnection coupling. At higher energies ≈2–20keV), we observe ions mapping to the auroral oval and can distinguish between the boundary and central plasma sheets. We show that ions at these energies relate to a transition from dawnward to duskward dominated flow, this is evidence of how ion drift orbits in the tail influence the location and behaviour of the plasma populations in the magnetosphere.
Key words. Magnetospheric physics (magnetopause, cusp and boundary layers; magnetosphere-ionosphere interactions; magnetospheric configuration and dynamic)