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Annales Geophysicae An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 22, issue 1
Ann. Geophys., 22, 303–315, 2004
https://doi.org/10.5194/angeo-22-303-2004
© Author(s) 2004. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Ann. Geophys., 22, 303–315, 2004
https://doi.org/10.5194/angeo-22-303-2004
© Author(s) 2004. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

  01 Jan 2004

01 Jan 2004

Compressional waves in the Earth's neutral sheet

M. Volwerk3,1, W. Baumjohann1, K. H. Glassmeier2, R. Nakamura1, T. L. Zhang1, A. Runov1, Z. Vörös1, B. Klecker3, R. A. Treumann3, Y. Bogdanova3, H.-U. Eichelberger1, A. Balogh4, and H. Rème5 M. Volwerk et al.
  • 1IWF, ÖAW, Graz, Austria
  • 2TU Braunschweig, Germany
  • 3MPE Garching, Germany
  • 4Imperial College, London, UK
  • 5CESR, Toulouse, France

Abstract. Compressional waves in the Earth's current sheet, driven by the high-speed plasma flows connected to substorms, are investigated using the Cluster magnetometer and plasma instrument. During the time that Cluster had its apogee in the magnetotail (July through October 2001), we have studied 5 events in detail. We find compressional waves in the 30–60mHz band, at a spectral power density that is dependent on when and where the event is observed. There is a difference of two orders of magnitude in power density between waves at substorm onset and waves during quiet times. Strong plasma flows are the driver of the wave power. The spacecraft location in the current sheet is also important for the spectral power density. Having four spacecraft available we can discern spatial from temporal variations. We have determined the propagation direction of the waves in the 30–60mHz band and found that in the Cluster rest frame they propagate in the same direction as the plasma flow at an angle 30° < ∆φ < 40° with respect to the plasma flow direction in the spacecraft' rest frame.

Key words. Magnetospheric physics (magnetotail; MHD waves and instabilities; plasma sheet)

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