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  1. Abstract

    We utilized a 4K imaging to examine properties of fine‐scale structures of Strong Thermal Emission Velocity Enhancement (STEVE) near the magnetic zenith. Its high spatial (0.09 km at 200 km altitude) and temporal (24 Hz) resolution provided unprecedented details of fine‐scale structures in the subauroral ionosphere. Although the STEVE emission was seen as a homogeneous purple/mauve arc in the all‐sky images, the high‐speed imaging revealed that STEVE contained substantial multi‐scale structures. The characteristic wavelength and period were 12.4 ± 7.4 km and 1.4 ± 0.8 s, and they drifted westward at 8.9 ± 0.7 km/s. The speed is comparable to the reported magnitude of the intense subauroral ion drifts (SAID), suggesting that the fine‐scale structures are an optical manifestation of theE × Bdrift in the intense SAID. A spectral analysis identified multiple peaks at >10, 4, 2, 1.1, and <1/5 s period (>83, 33, 16, 9, and <1.7 km wavelength). Although most of the fine‐scale structures were stable during the drift across the field of view, some of the structures dynamically evolved within a few tens of km. The fine‐scale structures have a power law spectrum with a slope of −1, indicating that shear flow turbulence cascade structures to smaller scales. The fine‐scale structures pose a challenge to the subauroral ionosphere‐thermosphere interaction about how the ionosphere creates such fine‐scale structures and how the thermosphere reacts much faster than expected from a typical chemical reaction time.

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  2. Abstract

    We examined evolution of Global Positioning System (GPS) scintillation during a substorm in the nightside high latitude ionosphere, using 1‐s phase and amplitude scintillation indices from the Canadian High Arctic Ionospheric Network (CHAIN) network. The traditional 1‐min scintillation indices showed that the phase scintillation was dominant, while the amplitude scintillation was weak. However, the 1‐s amplitude scintillation occurred more often in association with major auroral structures (polar cap arc, growth phase arc, onset arc, poleward expanding arc, poleward boundary intensification, and diffuse aurora) that were detected by the THEMIS all‐sky imagers (ASIs). The 1‐min index missed much of the amplitude fluctuations because they only lasted ∼10 s near a local peak or at the gradients of the auroral structures. The 1‐s phase scintillation was concurrent with the amplitude scintillation but was much weaker than the 1‐min phase scintillation. The frequency spectral analysis showed that the spectral power above ∼1 Hz was diffractive and below ∼1 Hz was refractive. We suggest that the amplitude scintillation in the high‐latitude ionosphere is much more common than previously considered, and that a short time window of the order of 1 s should be used to detect the scintillation. The 1‐min phase scintillation index is largely influenced by refractive effects due to total electron content (TEC) variations, and the spectral power below ∼1 Hz should be removed to identify diffractive scintillation.

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  4. Abstract

    Pc5 ultralow frequency waves are important for transferring energy between the magnetosphere and ionosphere. While many observations have been performed on Pc5 waves properties, it has been difficult to determine the source region, signal propagation path, and the two‐dimensional structure of Pc5 waves beyond coverage by a small number of satellites. Pc5 waves often show a dawn‐dusk asymmetry, but the cause of the asymmetry is under debate. To address these issues, we used conjunction events between the THEMIS satellites and all‐sky imagers and analyzed two Pc5 wave events that were stronger on the dawnside. For both events, the Pc5 waves propagated from dawnside magnetopause toward the nightside magnetosphere. The Pc5 waves were also associated with dawnside magnetopause surface waves, which were probably induced by the Kelvin‐Helmholtz instability. The ionospheric equivalent currents identified multiple vortices on the dawnside associated with quasi‐periodic auroral arcs and much weaker perturbations on the duskside. Global auroral imaging also presented a similar dawn‐dusk asymmetry with multiple arcs on the dawnside, while only one or two major arcs existed on the duskside. Pc5 waves in the magnetosphere had an anti‐phase relation between the total magnetic field and thermal pressure, with a slower propagation velocity compared with magnetohydrodynamic waves. The Poynting flux was anti‐sunward with an oscillating field‐aligned component. These properties suggest that Pc5 waves were slow or drift mirror mode waves coupled with standing Alfven waves. The ground‐based and multi‐satellite observations provide crucial information for determining the Pc5 waves properties, possible source region, and signal propagation path.

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  5. Abstract

    We utilized citizen scientist photographs of subauroral emissions in the upper atmosphere and identified a repeatable sequence of proton aurora and subauroral red (SAR) arc during substorms. The sequence started with a pair of green diffuse emissions and a red arc that drifted equatorward during the substorm expansion phase. Simultaneous spectrograph and satellite observations showed that they were subauroral proton aurora, where ion precipitation created secondary electrons that illuminated aurora in green and red colors. The ray structures in the red arc also indicated existence of low‐energy electron precipitation. The green diffuse aurora then decayed but the red arc (SAR arc) continued to move equatorward during the substorm recovery phase. This sequence suggests that the SAR arc was first generated by secondary electrons associated with ion precipitation and may then transition to heat flux or Joule heating. Proton aurora provides observational evidence that ion injection to the inner magnetosphere is the energy source for the initiation of the SAR arc.

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  6. Abstract

    We present observations during two substorms using simultaneous Time History of Events and Macroscale Interactions During Substorms satellites and all‐sky imagers to determine plasma sheet dynamics associated with substorm auroral onset beads. The multi‐satellite observations showed that the cross‐tail current decreased and the field‐aligned currents increased at the substorm auroral onset, indicating that the satellites detected an initiation of the currents being deflected to the ionosphere. For duskward‐propagating beads, the electric field was tailward, and ions were accumulated closer to the Earth than electrons. The mapped bead propagation speed was close to energetic ion drift speed. Theand electron drift speeds increased duskward and reduced the cross‐tail current at the onset. For dawnward‐propagating beads, the electric field was equatorward/earthward, and electrons were inferred to accumulate earthward of ions. The mapped bead propagation speed was comparable to the dawnwardand electron drift speeds. The duskward ion drift and tail current were reduced, and electrons became the dominant current carrier. We suggest that the plasma species that is responsible for the bead propagation changes with the electric field configuration and that the tail current reduction by the enhanceddrift at onset destabilizes the plasma sheet. Ion and electron outflows substantially increased low‐energy plasma density and may have increased the role ofdrifts. The bead wavelength was comparable to ion gyroradius and thus ion kinetic effects are important for determining the wavelength. In the dawnward‐propagating event, the mode of oscillation in the plasma sheet was suggested to be the sausage‐mode flapping oscillations.

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  7. Abstract

    Using Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) satellite observations and ground‐based observations by the THEMIS all‐sky imagers (ASIs) and SuperDARN radars, we determine how the equatorward boundary locations of ring current ions and plasma sheet electrons at pre‐midnight relate to occurrence of strong thermal emission velocity enhancement (STEVE) and intense subauroral ion drifts (SAID) during substorms. We found that the STEVE events are associated with a sharper gradient of electron precipitating flux, lower precipitating ion flux, and a narrower (<1°) latitudinal gap between the equatorward boundaries of trapped ring current ions and precipitating plasma sheet electrons and narrower region‐2 field‐aligned currents (FACs) than for the non‐STEVE events. The narrow gap of the particle boundaries contains intense SAID, higher upflow velocity, lower trough density, and slightly higher electron temperature than those for the non‐STEVE events. The non‐STEVE substorms have much wider gaps between the trapped ions and precipitating electrons, and subauroral polarization streams (SAPS) do not show intense SAID. These results indicate that subauroral flows and downward FACs for the STEVE events can only flow within the latitudinally narrow subauroral low‐conductance region between the ion and electron boundaries, resulting in intense SAID and heating. During the non‐STEVE events, the SAPS flows can flow in the latitudinally wide region without forming intense SAID.

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  8. Abstract

    To understand magnetosphere‐ionosphere conditions that result in thermal emission velocity enhancement (STEVE) and subauroral ion drifts (SAID) during the substorm recovery phase, we present substorm aurora, particle injection, and current systems during two STEVE events. Those events are compared to substorm events with similar strength but without STEVE. We found that the substorm surge and intense upward currents for the events with STEVE reach the dusk, while those for the non‐STEVE substorms are localized around midnight. The Time History of Events and Macroscale Interactions during Substorms (THEMIS) satellite observations show that location of particle injection and fast plasma sheet flows for the STEVE events also shifts duskward. Electron injection is stronger and ion injection is weaker for the STEVE events compared to the non‐STEVE events. SAID are measured by Super Dual Auroral Radar Network during the STEVE events, but the non‐STEVE events only showed latitudinally wide subauroral polarization streams without SAID. To interpret the observations, Rice Convection Model (RCM) simulations with injection at premidnight and midnight have been conducted. The simulations successfully explain the stronger electron injection, weaker ion injection, and formation of SAID for injection at premidnight, because injected electrons reach the premidnight inner magnetosphere and form a narrower separation between the ion and electron inner boundaries. We suggest that substorms and particle injections extending far duskward away from midnight offer a condition for creating STEVE and SAID due to stronger electron injection to premidnight. The THEMIS all‐sky imager network identified the east‐west length of the STEVE arc to be ~1900 km (~2.5 h magnetic local time) and the duration to be 1–1.5 h.

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