Articles | Volume 24, issue 2
23 Mar 2006
 | 23 Mar 2006

Relation between substorm characteristics and rapid temporal variations of the ground magnetic field

A. Viljanen, E. I. Tanskanen, and A. Pulkkinen

Abstract. Auroral substorms are one of the major causes of large geomagnetically induced currents (GIC) in technological systems. This study deals with different phases of the auroral substorm concerning their severity from the GIC viewpoint. Our database consists of 833 substorms observed by the IMAGE magnetometer network in 1997 (around sunspot minimum) and 1999 (rising phase of the sunspot cycle), divided into two classes according to the Dst index: non-storm (Dst>-40 nT, 696 events) and storm-time ones (Dst<-40 nT, 137 events). The key quantity concerning GIC is the time derivative of the horizontal magnetic field vector (dH/dt) whose largest values during substorms occur most probably at about 5 min after the onset at stations with CGM latitude less than 72 deg. When looking at the median time of the occurrence of the maximum dH/dt after the expansion onset, it increases as a function of latitude from about 15 min at CGM lat=56 deg to about 45 min at CGM lat=75 deg for non-storm substorms. For storm-time events, these times are about 5 min longer. Based on calculated ionospheric equivalent currents, large dH/dt occur mostly during the substorm onset when the amplitude of the westward electrojet increases rapidly.