Ionospheric plasma density structures associated with magnetopause motion: a case study using the Cluster spacecraft and the EISCAT Svalbard Radar
- 1European Space Agency, Research and Scientific Support Department, Solar and Solar-Terrestrial Missions Division, Keplerlaan 1, 2201 AZ Noordwijk, The Netherlands
- 2Imperial College, Space and Atmospheric Physics Group, Prince Consort Road, London, SW7 2BZ, UK
Abstract. On 5 January 2003, the footprint of the Cluster spacecraft, then orbiting in the dayside magnetosphere near the magnetopause, was in the close vicinity of the EISCAT Svalbard Radar (ESR) in the dayside afternoon sector. This configuration made possible the study of the magnetopause motion and its direct consequences on the ionospheric plasma at high latitude. Cluster observed multiple magnetopause crossings despite its high latitude, while on the ground the magnetic activity was very low, whereas the ionospheric plasma sounded by the ESR exhibited poleward moving plasma density structures. In this paper, we compare the satellite and radar data, in order to show that the plasma density structures are directly related to the magnetopause motion and its associated pulsed ionospheric flow. We propose that the variations in electric field make the convection velocity vary enough to alter the electron population by accelerating the chemistry in the F-region and act as a source of electron depletion. The magnetopause motion is in this case, a source of plasma density structures in the polar dayside ionosphere.