Articles | Volume 24, issue 3
19 May 2006
 | 19 May 2006

Alfvén waves in the near-PSBL lobe: Cluster observations

T. Takada, R. Nakamura, W. Baumjohann, K. Seki, Z. Vörös, Y. Asano, M. Volwerk, A. Runov, T. L. Zhang, A. Balogh, G. Paschmann, R. B. Torbert, B. Klecker, H. Rème, P. Puhl-Quinn, P. Canu, and P. M. E. Décréau

Abstract. Electromagnetic low-frequency waves in the magnetotail lobe close to the PSBL (Plasma Sheet Boundary Layer) are studied using the Cluster spacecraft. The lobe waves show Alfvénic properties and transport their wave energy (Poynting flux) on average toward the Earth along magnetic field lines. Most of the wave events are rich with oxygen (O+) ion plasma. The rich O+ plasma can serve to enhance the magnetic field fluctuations, resulting in a greater likelihood of observation, but it does not appear to be necessary for the generation of the waves. Taking into account the fact that all events are associated with auroral electrojet enhancements, the source of the lobe waves might be a substorm-associated instability, i.e. some instability near the reconnection site, or an ion beam-related instability in the PSBL.