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Annales Geophysicae An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 26, issue 3
Ann. Geophys., 26, 387–394, 2008
https://doi.org/10.5194/angeo-26-387-2008
© Author(s) 2008. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Ann. Geophys., 26, 387–394, 2008
https://doi.org/10.5194/angeo-26-387-2008
© Author(s) 2008. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

  26 Mar 2008

26 Mar 2008

Solar wind dependence of ion parameters in the Earth's magnetospheric region calculated from CLUSTER observations

M. H. Denton1,2 and M. G. G. T. Taylor2 M. H. Denton and M. G. G. T. Taylor
  • 1Department of Communication Systems, Lancaster University, Lancaster, LA1 4WA, UK
  • 2Science Operations Department, European Space Agency, 2201AZ Noordwijk ZH, The Netherlands

Abstract. Moments calculated from the ion distributions (~0–40 keV) measured by the Cluster Ion Spectrometry (CIS) instrument are combined with data from the Cluster Flux Gate Magnetometer (FGM) instrument and used to characterise the bulk properties of the plasma in the near-Earth magnetosphere over five years (2001–2005). Results are presented in the form of 2-D xy, xz and yz GSM cuts through the magnetosphere using data obtained from the Cluster Science Data System (CSDS) and the Cluster Active Archive (CAA). Analysis reveals the distribution of ~0–40 keV ions in the inner magnetosphere is highly ordered and highly responsive to changes in solar wind velocity. Specifically, elevations in temperature are found to occur across the entire nightside plasma sheet region during times of fast solar wind. We demonstrate that the nightside plasma sheet ion temperature at a downtail distance of ~12 to 19 Earth radii increases by a factor of ~2 during periods of fast solar wind (500–1000 km s−1) compared to periods of slow solar wind (100–400 km s−1). The spatial extent of these increases are shown in the xy, xz and yz GSM planes. The results from the study have implications for modelling studies and simulations of solar-wind/magnetosphere coupling, which ultimately rely on in situ observations of the plasma sheet properties for input/boundary conditions.

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