Articles | Volume 23, issue 3
Ann. Geophys., 23, 831–851, 2005
Ann. Geophys., 23, 831–851, 2005

  30 Mar 2005

30 Mar 2005

Statistical and superposed epoch study of dipolarization events using data from Wind perigee passes

K. Sigsbee1, J. A. Slavin2, R. P. Lepping2, A. Szabo2, M. Øieroset3, M. L. Kaiser2, M. J. Reiner4, and H. J. Singer5 K. Sigsbee et al.
  • 1Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa, 52242 USA
  • 2Laboratory for Extraterrestrial Physics, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland 20771, USA
  • 3Space Sciences Laboratory, University of California, Berkeley, California, USA
  • 4The Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C., 20064, USA
  • 5NOAA Space Environment Center, Boulder, Colorado, 80305 USA

Abstract. From 1995 to 2000, the Wind spacecraft spent over 500h in the magnetotail, much of it within ~2x104km of the predicted location of the neutral sheet. Wind passed through the near magnetotail at distances of -15 RE<X GSM<-6 RE on 35 occasions. Another 10 passes took place at distances of -30 RE<X GSM<-15 RE. We identified 65 dipolarization events in the Wind magnetic field data set between Y GSM~-16 and +16 RE based upon our requirements that the magnetic field inclination had to change by more than 15°, the maximum inclination angle had to be greater than 20°, and the inclination angle had to increase by a factor of at least 1.5. Most of the dipolarization events occurred in the pre-midnight region of the magnetotail and were accompanied by earthward flows with speeds greater than 100km/s. The properties of the dipolarization events did not depend upon the Y GSM position. However, they did vary with the distance to the neutral sheet. Isolated dipolarization events, defined as occurring more than 20min apart, were characterized by a decrease in Bx GSM and BTOTAL, and an increase in Bz GSM and the magnetic field inclination. Dipolarizations that occurred as part of a series of small dipolarizations spaced less than 20min apart were characterized by a transient increase in Bz GSM and the magnetic field inclination, but no significant change in Bx GSM and BTOTAL. The events consisting of a series of small dipolarizations occurred predominantly near midnight. We interpret these results in terms of two different modes of magnetotail convection: 1) a classical substorm pattern featuring storage of magnetic energy in the tail lobes which is explosively released at onset, and 2) a directly driven process.