Articles | Volume 28, issue 10
27 Oct 2010
 | 27 Oct 2010

Effects of a solar wind dynamic pressure increase in the magnetosphere and in the ionosphere

L. Juusola, K. Andréeová, O. Amm, K. Kauristie, S. E. Milan, M. Palmroth, and N. Partamies

Abstract. On 17 July 2005, an earthward bound north-south oriented magnetic cloud and its sheath were observed by the ACE, SoHO, and Wind solar wind monitors. A steplike increase of the solar wind dynamic pressure during northward interplanetary magnetic field conditions was related to the leading edge of the sheath. A timing analysis between the three spacecraft revealed that this front was not aligned with the GSE y-axis, but had a normal (−0.58,0.82,0). Hence, the first contact with the magnetosphere occurred on the dawnside rather than at the subsolar point. Fortunately, Cluster, Double Star 1, and Geotail happened to be distributed close to the magnetopause in this region, which made it possible to closely monitor the motion of the magnetopause. After the pressure front had impacted the magnetosphere, the magnetopause was perceived first to move inward and then immediately to correct the overshoot by slightly expanding again such that it ended up between the Cluster constellation with Double Star 1 inside the magnetosphere and Geotail in the magnetosheath. Coinciding with the inward and subsequent outward motion, the ground-based magnetic field at low latitudes was observed to first strengthen and then weaken. As the magnetopause position stabilised, so did the ground-based magnetic field intensity, settling at a level slightly higher than before the pressure increase. Altogether the magnetopause was moving for about 15 min after its first contact with the front. The high latitude ionospheric signature consisted of two parts: a shorter (few minutes) and less intense preliminary part comprised a decrease of AL and a negative variation of PC. A longer (about ten minutes) and more intense main part of the signature comprised an increase of AU and a positive variation of PC. Measurements from several ground-based magnetometer networks (210 MM CPMN, CANMOS, CARISMA, GIMA, IMAGE, MACCS, SuperMAG, THEMIS, TGO) were used to obtain information on the ionospheric E×B drift. Before the pressure increase, a configuration typical for the prevailing northward IMF conditions was observed at high latitudes. The preliminary signature coincided with a pair of reverse convection vortices, whereas during the main signature, mainly westward convection was observed at all local time sectors. Afterwards, the configuration preceding the pressure increase was recovered, but with slightly enhanced convection. Based on the timing analysis, the existence of the preliminary signature coincided with the passage of the oblique pressure front, whereas during the main signature the front was already well past Earth. The main signature existed during the time the magnetopause was observed to move. As the position stabilised, also the signature disappeared.