Articles | Volume 29, issue 11
17 Nov 2011
 | 17 Nov 2011

Substorms during different storm phases

N. Partamies, L. Juusola, E. Tanskanen, K. Kauristie, J. M. Weygand, and Y. Ogawa

Abstract. After the deep solar minimum at the end of the solar cycle 23, a small magnetic storm occurred on 20–26 January 2010. The Dst (disturbance storm time) index reached the minimum of −38 nT on 20 January and the prolonged recovery that followed the main phase that lasted for about 6 days. In this study, we concentrate on three substorms that took place (1) just prior to the storm, (2) during the main phase of the storm, and (3) at the end of the recovery of the storm. We analyse the solar wind conditions from the solar wind monitoring spacecraft, the duration and intensity of the substorm events as well as the behaviour of the electrojet currents from the ground magnetometer measurements. We compare the precipitation characteristics of the three substorms.

The results show that the F-region electron density enhancements and dominant green and red auroral emission of the substorm activity during the storm recovery resembles average isolated substorm precipitation. However, the energy dissipated, even at the very end of a prolonged storm recovery, is very large compared to the typical energy content of isolated substorms. In the case studied here, the dissipation of the excess energy is observed over a 3-h long period of several consecutive substorm intensifications. Our findings suggest that the substorm energy dissipation varies between the storm phases.