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

Origin of the turbulent spectra in the high-altitude cusp: Cluster spacecraft observations

K. Nykyri, B. Grison, P. J. Cargill, B. Lavraud, E. Lucek, I. Dandouras, A. Balogh, N. Cornilleau-Wehrlin, and H. Rème

Abstract. High-resolution magnetic field data from Cluster Flux Gate Magnetometer (FGM) and the Spatio-Temporal Analysis of Field Fluctuations (STAFF) instruments are used to study turbulent magnetic field fluctuations during the high-altitude cusp crossing on 17 March 2001. Despite the quiet solar wind conditions, the cusp was filled with magnetic field turbulence whose power correlates with the field-aligned ion plasma flux. The magnetic field wave spectra shows power law behavior with both double and single slopes with break in the spectra usually occurring in the vicinity of the local ion cyclotron frequency. Strong peaks in the wave power close to local ion cyclotron frequency were sometimes observed, with secondary peaks at higher harmonics indicative of resonant processes between protons and the waves. We show that the observed spectral break point may be caused partly by damping of obliquely propagating kinetic Alfvén (KAW) waves and partly by cyclotron damping of ion cyclotron waves.