High-latitude poynting flux from combined Iridium and SuperDARN data
- 1School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences, The University of Newcastle University Drive, Callaghan, 2308 NSW, Australia
- 2The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory 11100 Johns Hopkins Road Laurel, MD 20723-6099, USA
Abstract. Field-aligned currents convey stress between the magnetosphere and ionosphere, and the associated low altitude magnetic and electric fields reflect the flow of electromagnetic energy to the polar ionosphere. We introduce a new technique to measure the global distribution of high latitude Poynting flux, S||, by combining electric field estimates from the Super Dual Auroral Radar Network (SuperDARN) with magnetic perturbations derived using magnetometer data from the Iridium satellite constellation. Spherical harmonic methods are used to merge the data sets and calculate S|| for any magnetic local time (MLT) from the pole to 60° magnetic latitude (MLAT). The effective spatial resolutions are 2° MLAT, 2h MLT, and the time resolution is about one hour due to the telemetry rate of the Iridium magnetometer data. The technique allows for the assessment of high-latitude net S|| and its spatial distribution on one hour time scales with two key advantages: (1) it yields the net S|| including the contribution of neutral winds; and (2) the results are obtained without recourse to estimates of ionosphere conductivity. We present two examples, 23 November 1999, 14:00-15:00 UT, and 11 March 2000, 16:00-17:00 UT, to test the accuracy of the technique and to illustrate the distributions of S|| that it gives. Comparisons with in-situ S|| estimates from DMSP satellites show agreement to a few mW/m2 and in the locations of S|| enhancements to within the technique's resolution. The total electromagnetic energy flux was 50GW for these events. At auroral latitudes, S|| tends to maximize in the morning and afternoon in regions less than 5° in MLAT by two hours in MLT having S||=10 to 20mW/m2 and total power up to 10GW. The power poleward of the Region 1 currents is about one-third of the total power, indicating significant energy flux over the polar cap.