Mapping of steady-state electric fields and convective drifts in geomagnetic fields – Part 1: Elementary models
- 1School of Chemistry and Physics, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
- 2Institute of Space and Atmospheric Studies, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatchewan, Canada
Abstract. When studying magnetospheric convection, it is often necessary to map the steady-state electric field, measured at some point on a magnetic field line, to a magnetically conjugate point in the other hemisphere, or the equatorial plane, or at the position of a satellite. Such mapping is relatively easy in a dipole field although the appropriate formulae are not easily accessible. They are derived and reviewed here with some examples. It is not possible to derive such formulae in more realistic geomagnetic field models. A new method is described in this paper for accurate mapping of electric fields along field lines, which can be used for any field model in which the magnetic field and its spatial derivatives can be computed. From the spatial derivatives of the magnetic field three first order differential equations are derived for the components of the normalized element of separation of two closely spaced field lines. These can be integrated along with the magnetic field tracing equations and Faraday's law used to obtain the electric field as a function of distance measured along the magnetic field line. The method is tested in a simple model consisting of a dipole field plus a magnetotail model. The method is shown to be accurate, convenient, and suitable for use with more realistic geomagnetic field models.