Evaluation of the geometry of ionospheric current systems related to rapid geomagnetic variations
- 1Institute of Physics, St. Petersburg State University, Ulyanovskaya 1, Petrodvoretz, 198504, St.Petersburg, Russia
- 2Finnish Meteorological Institute, Geophysical Research Division, P.O. Box 503, FIN-00101 Helsinki, Finland
Abstract. To learn about the geometry and sources of the ionospheric current systems which generate strong geomagnetically induced currents, we categorize differential equivalent current systems (DEC) for events with strong dB/dt by decomposing them into the contributions of electrojet-type and vortex-type elementary systems. By solving the inverse problem we obtain amplitudes and locations of these elementary current systems. One-minute differences of the geomagnetic field values at the IMAGE magnetometer network in 1996–2000 are analysed to study the spatial distributions of large dB/dt events. The relative contributions of the two components are evaluated. In particular, we found that the majority of the strongest dB/dt events (100–1000nT/min) appear to be produced by the vortex-type current structures and most of them occur in the morning LT hours, probably caused by the Ps6 pulsation events associated with auroral omega structures. For strong dB/dt events the solar wind parameters are shifted toward strong (tens nT) southward IMF, enhanced velocity and dynamic pressure, in order for the main phase of the magnetic storms to occur. Although these events appear mostly during magnetic storms when the auroral oval greatly expands, the area of large dB/dt stays in the middle part of the auroral zone; therefore, it is connected to the processes taking part in the middle of the magnetosphere rather than in its innermost region populated by the ring current.
Key words. Geomagnetism and paleomagnetism (rapid time variations) – Ionosphere (auroral ionosphere; ionospheric disturbances)