Plasma convection across the polar cap, plasma mantle and cusp: Cluster EDI observations
- 1Max-Planck-Institut für extraterrestrische Physik, 85748 Garching, Germany
- 2University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH 03824, USA
- 3University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA 52242, USA
- 4CESR-CNRS, 31028 Toulouse, France
Abstract. In this paper we report measurements of the convection obtained with the Electron Drift Instrument (EDI) on Cluster. We use 20 passes that cross the between its dayside and nightside boundaries (or vice versa) at geocentric distances ranging from about 5 to about 13RE, and at interspacecraft separations (transverse to the ambient magnetic field) between a few km and almost 10000km. We first illustrate the nature of the data by presenting four passes in detail. They demonstrate that the sense of convection (anti-sunward vs. sunward) essentially agrees with the expectations based on magnetic reconnection occurring on the dayside or poleward of the cusp. The most striking feature in the EDI data is the occurrence of large-amplitude fluctuations that are superimposed on the average velocities. One type of fluctuation appears to grow when approaching the dayside boundary. The examples also show that there is a variable degree of inter-spacecraft correlation, ranging from excellent to poor. We then present statistical results on all 20 passes. Plotting 10-min averages of the convection velocities vs. IMF Bz one recovers the expected dependence, albeit with large scatter. Looking at the variances computed over the same 10-min intervals, one confirms that there is indeed one type of contribution that grows towards the dayside boundary, but that variances can be high anywhere. Finally, computing the inter-spacecraft correlations as a function of their separation distance transverse to the magnetic field shows that the average correlation drops with increasing distance, but that even at distances as large as 5000km the correlation can be very good. To put those scales into context, the separation distances have also been scaled to ionospheric altitudes where they range between a few hundred meters and 600km.