Articles | Volume 29, issue 3
24 Mar 2011
 | 24 Mar 2011

Climatology of the inter-hemispheric field-aligned current system in the equatorial ionosphere as observed by CHAMP

J. Park, H. Lühr, and K. W. Min

Abstract. From geomagnetic field observations of CHAMP during 2001–2009 we extracted characteristic signatures of inter-hemispheric field-aligned currents (IHFACs) in the equatorial ionosphere. The results are in general agreement with previous observations. Nighttime IHFACs are negligibly small. Solstitial IHFACs flow from the summer to winter (from winter to summer) hemisphere at dawn (around noon). Duskside IHFACs flow southbound irrespective of season. We have also found some new IHFAC properties, which may have been predicted by theories, but are not yet given observational support. IHFACs clearly exhibit a longitude dependence, which is modulated by the South Atlantic Anomaly, the offset between geographic and magnetic equators, and tidal waves. IHFACs show little dependence on the solar cycle. We provide a comprehensive assessment of the IHFAC modulation by non-migrating tides.