Articles | Volume 25, issue 12
02 Jan 2007
 | 02 Jan 2007

Energy deposition in the ionosphere through a global field line resonance

I. J. Rae, C. E. J. Watt, F. R. Fenrich, I. R. Mann, L. G. Ozeke, and A. Kale

Abstract. We present an interval whereby we can estimate the energy dissipation in the ionosphere through an externally-driven field line resonance. In this paper, we utilise an interval described in general by Rae et al. (2005), where the global magnetospheric cavity was shown to be energised via a high solar wind speed stream. Using the ground-based instrumentation available, we estimate the spatial extent of the generated pulsations to be at least 10° in latitude and 65° in longitude, a sizeable fraction of the dusk-sector ionosphere. Using a fortuitous conjunction with the Polar spacecraft, we compare point measurements of the net downward Poynting vector to the estimated Joule heating rate in the ionosphere, and find that model values of the Pedersen conductance are reasonable. In the interval of interest, we estimate the total dissipation rate during a global field line resonance to be comparable to that reported in substorm studies. Previous studies have estimated the total energy deposition via field line resonance to be up to 4% of that deposited during a small substorm. However, in this paper we find that the total energy deposited via Joule heating may actually be 30% or more of the energy deposited in the ionosphere during a substorm cycle using a conservative estimate of the pulsation duration.