Statistical survey of day-side magnetospheric current flow using Cluster observations: magnetopause
- Institut für Geophysik und extraterrestrische Physik, Technische Universtität Braunschweig, Braunschweig, Germany
Abstract. We present a statistical survey of current structures observed by the Cluster spacecraft at high-latitude day-side magnetopause encounters in the close vicinity of the polar cusps. Making use of the curlometer technique and the fluxgate magnetometer data, we calculate the 3-D current densities and investigate the magnetopause current direction, location, and magnitude during varying solar wind conditions. We find that the orientation of the day-side current structures is in accordance with existing magnetopause current models. Based on the ambient plasma properties, we distinguish five different transition regions at the magnetopause surface and observe distinctive current properties for each region. Additionally, we find that the location of currents varies with respect to the onset of the changes in the plasma environment during magnetopause crossings.