Articles | Volume 23, issue 11
21 Dec 2005
 | 21 Dec 2005

Flux transfer events on the high-latitude magnetopause: Interball-1 observations

D. G. Sibeck, G. I. Korotova, V. Petrov, V. Styazhkin, and T. J. Rosenberg

Abstract. We present case and statistical studies of flux transfer events (FTEs) observed by Interball-1 on the high-latitude magnetopause. The case studies provide observations of FTEs in the cusp during periods of southward interplanetary magnetic field (IMF) orientation and on the magnetopause poleward of the cusp during periods of strongly northward IMF orientation. We interpret the former in terms of reconnection on the equatorial magnetopause and subsequent antisunward motion of FTEs into the cusps. We interpret the latter in terms of bursty antiparallel merging on the high-latitude magnetopause. A statistical survey demonstrates that events observed equatorward of the cusp show a marked tendency to occur for antiparallel (northward) magnetospheric and (southward) magnetosheath magnetic field orientations, whereas events observed poleward of the cusps tend to occur for either strongly parallel or antiparallel configurations. We suggest that this discrepancy implies that events observed poleward of the cusps originate both locally and on the equatorial magnetopause. Finally, we use the sense of the bipolar signature and the prevailing magnetic field orientation to demonstrate that almost all events move antisunward, i.e. that at these latitudes pressure gradients determine the motion of FTEs and not magnetic curvature forces.