Articles | Volume 30, issue 12
Ann. Geophys., 30, 1751–1768, 2012

Special issue: Cluster 10th anniversary workshop

Ann. Geophys., 30, 1751–1768, 2012

Regular paper 21 Dec 2012

Regular paper | 21 Dec 2012

ULF wave activity during the 2003 Halloween superstorm: multipoint observations from CHAMP, Cluster and Geotail missions

G. Balasis1, I. A. Daglis1, E. Zesta2, C. Papadimitriou1,3, M. Georgiou1,3, R. Haagmans4, and K. Tsinganos3 G. Balasis et al.
  • 1Institute for Astronomy, Astrophysics, Space Applications and Remote Sensing, National Observatory of Athens, Greece
  • 2RVBXP, Air Force Research Laboratory, Hanscom AFB, MA, USA
  • 3Section of Astrophysics, Astronomy and Mechanics, Department of Physics, University of Athens, Greece
  • 4European Space Research and Technology Centre, European Space Agency, Noordwijk, The Netherlands

Abstract. We examine data from a topside ionosphere and two magnetospheric missions (CHAMP, Cluster and Geotail) for signatures of ultra low frequency (ULF) waves during the exceptional 2003 Halloween geospace magnetic storm, when Dst reached ~−380 nT. We use a suite of wavelet-based algorithms, which are a subset of a tool that is being developed for the analysis of multi-instrument multi-satellite and ground-based observations to identify ULF waves and investigate their properties. Starting from the region of topside ionosphere, we first present three clear and strong signatures of Pc3 ULF wave activity (frequency 15–100 mHz) in CHAMP tracks. We then expand these three time intervals for purposes of comparison between CHAMP, Cluster and Geotail Pc3 observations but also to be able to search for Pc4–5 wave signatures (frequency 1–10 mHz) into Cluster and Geotail measurements in order to have a more complete picture of the ULF wave occurrence during the storm. Due to the fast motion through field lines in a low Earth orbit (LEO) we are able to reliably detect Pc3 (but not Pc4–5) waves from CHAMP. This is the first time, to our knowledge, that ULF wave observations from a topside ionosphere mission are compared to ULF wave observations from magnetospheric missions. Our study provides evidence for the occurrence of a number of prominent ULF wave events in the Pc3 and Pc4–5 bands during the storm and offers a platform to study the wave evolution from high altitudes to LEO. The ULF wave analysis methods presented here can be applied to observations from the upcoming Swarm multi-satellite mission of ESA, which is anticipated to enable joint studies with the Cluster mission.