Articles | Volume 25, issue 3
29 Mar 2007
 | 29 Mar 2007

Comprehensive study of ULF upstream waves observed in the topside ionosphere by CHAMP and on the ground

B. Heilig, H. Lühr, and M. Rother

Abstract. Based on magnetic field measurements from the satellite CHAMP, a detailed picture could be obtained of the upstream wave (UW) distribution in the topside ionosphere. The low, near-polar orbit of CHAMP, covering all local times, allows the global distribution of this type of pulsation to be revealed. The observations from space are compared to recordings of the ground-based MM100 meridional array covering the latitude range 66° to 42° in magnetic coordinates. UWs show up very clearly in the compressional component of the satellite magnetic field data, whereas on the ground, their signature is found in the H component, but it is mixed with oscillations from field line resonant pulsations. Here we first introduce a procedure for an automated detection of UW signatures, both in ground and space data. Then a statistical analysis is presented of UW pulsations recorded during a 132-day period, centred on the autumn 2001 equinox. Observations in the top-side ionosphere reveal a clear latitudinal distribution of the amplitudes. Largest signals are observed at the equator. Minima show up at about 40° latitude. The coherence between ground and satellite wave signatures is high over wide latitude and longitude ranges. We make suggestions about the entry mechanism of UWs from the foreshock region into the magnetosphere. The clear UW signature in satellite recordings between −60° and 60° latitude allows for detailed investigations of the dependence on solar wind conditions. We test the control of solar wind speed, interplanetary magnetic field strength and cone angle on UWs. For the first time, it is possible to derive details of the Doppler-shift effect by modifying the UW frequency from direct observations. The results reconcile foreshock wave generation predictions with near-Earth observations.