Magnetic reconnection during steady magnetospheric convection and other magnetospheric modes
- 1Laboratory for Planetary and Atmospheric Physics, University of Liège, Liège, Belgium
- 2Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Leicester, Leicester, UK
Abstract. We use remote sensing of the proton aurora with the IMAGE-FUV SI12 (Imager for Magnetopause to Aurora Global Exploration–Far Ultraviolet–Spectrographic Imaging at 121.8 nm) instrument and radar measurements of the ionospheric convection from the SuperDARN (Super Dual Aurora Radar Network) facility to estimate the open magnetic flux in the Earth's magnetosphere and the reconnection rates at the dayside magnetopause and in the magnetotail during intervals of steady magnetospheric convection (SMC). We find that SMC intervals occur with relatively high open magnetic flux (average ∼ 0.745 GWb, standard deviation ∼ 0.16 GWb), which is often found to be nearly steady, when the magnetic flux opening and closure rates approximately balance around 55 kV on average, with a standard deviation of 21 kV. We find that the residence timescale of open magnetic flux, defined as the ratio between the open magnetospheric flux and the flux closure rate, is roughly 4 h during SMCs. Interestingly, this number is approximately what can be deduced from the discussion of the length of the tail published by Dungey (1965), assuming a solar wind speed of ∼ 450 km s−1. We also infer an enhanced convection velocity in the tail, driving open magnetic flux to the nightside reconnection site. We compare our results with previously published studies in order to identify different magnetospheric modes. These are ordered by increasing open magnetic flux and reconnection rate as quiet conditions, SMCs, substorms (with an important overlap between these last two) and sawtooth intervals.