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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 1, 2024
  2. Abstract

    Solar eclipses present a rare glimpse into the impact of ionospheric electrodynamics on the magnetosphere independent of other well studied seasonal influences. Despite decades of study, we still do not have a complete description of the conditions for geomagnetic substorm onset. We present herein a mutual information based study of previously published substorm onsets and the past two decades of eclipses which indicates the likelihood of co‐occurrence is greater than random chance. A plausible interpretation for this relation suggests that the abrupt fluctuations in ionospheric conductivity during an eclipse may influence the magnetospheric preconditions of substorm initiation. While the mechanism remains unclear, this study presents strong evidence of a link between substorm onset and solar eclipses.

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  3. Abstract

    The Earth's magnetosphere supports a variety of Magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) normal modes with Ultra Low Frequencies (ULF) including standing Alfvén waves and cavity/waveguide modes. Their amplitudes and frequencies depend in part on the properties of the magnetosphere (size of cavity, wave speed distribution). In this work, we use ∼13 years of Time History of Events and Macroscale Interactions during Substorms satellite magnetic field observations, combined with linearized MHD numerical simulations, to examine the properties of MHD normal modes in the regionL > 5 and for frequencies <80 mHz. We identify persistent normal mode structure in observed dawn sector power spectra with frequency‐dependent wave power peaks like those obtained from simulation ensemble averages, where the simulations assume different radial Alfvén speed profiles and magnetopause locations. We further show with both observations and simulations how frequency‐dependent wave power peaks atL > 5 depend on both the magnetopause location and the location of peaks in the radial Alfvén speed profile. Finally, we discuss how these results might be used to better model radiation belt electron dynamics related to ULF waves.

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  4. Abstract

    A chain of magnetometers has been placed in Antarctica for comparisons with magnetic field measurements taken in the Northern Hemisphere. The locations were chosen to be on magnetic field lines that connect to magnetometers on the western coast of Greenland, despite the difficulty of reaching and working at such remote locations. We report on some basic comparisons of the similarities and differences in the conjugate measurements. Our results presented here confirm that the conjugate sites do have very similar (symmetric) magnetic perturbations in a handful of cases, as expected. Sign reversals are required for two components in order to obtain this agreement, which is not commonly known. More frequently, a strongYcomponent of the Interplanetary Magnetic Field (IMF) breaks the symmetry, as well as the unequal conductivities in the opposite hemispheres, as shown in two examples. In one event the IMFYcomponent reversed signs twice within 2 hours, while the magnetometer chains were approaching local noon. This switch provided an opportunity to observe the effects at the conjugate locations and to measure time lags. It was found that the magnetic fields at the most poleward sites started to respond to the sudden IMF reversals 20 min after the IMF reaches the bow shock, a measure of the time it takes for the electromagnetic signal to travel to the magnetopause, and then along magnetic field lines to the polar ionospheres. An additional 9–14 min is required for the magnetic perturbations to complete their transition.

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  5. Abstract

    On 04 December 2021, a total solar eclipse occurred over west Antarctica. Nearly an hour beforehand, a geomagnetic substorm onset was observed in the northern hemisphere. Eclipses are suggested to influence magnetosphere‐ionosphere (MI) coupling dynamics by altering the conductivity structure of the ionosphere by reducing photoionization. This sudden and dramatic change in conductivity is not only likely to alter global MI coupling, but it may also introduce a variety of localized instabilities that appear in both hemispheres. Global navigation satellite system (GNSS) based observations of the total electron content (TEC) in the southern high latitude ionosphere during the December 2021 eclipse show signs of wave activity coincident with the eclipse peak totality. Ground magnetic observations in the same region show similar activity, and our analysis suggest that these observations are due to an “eclipse effect” rather than the prior substorm. We present the first multi‐point interhemispheric study of a total south polar eclipse with local TEC observational context in support of this conclusion.

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  6. Abstract

    We review comprehensive observations of electromagnetic ion cyclotron (EMIC) wave-driven energetic electron precipitation using data collected by the energetic electron detector on the Electron Losses and Fields InvestigatioN (ELFIN) mission, two polar-orbiting low-altitude spinning CubeSats, measuring 50-5000 keV electrons with good pitch-angle and energy resolution. EMIC wave-driven precipitation exhibits a distinct signature in energy-spectrograms of the precipitating-to-trapped flux ratio: peaks at >0.5 MeV which are abrupt (bursty) (lasting ∼17 s, or$\Delta L\sim 0.56$ΔL0.56) with significant substructure (occasionally down to sub-second timescale). We attribute the bursty nature of the precipitation to the spatial extent and structuredness of the wave field at the equator. Multiple ELFIN passes over the same MLT sector allow us to study the spatial and temporal evolution of the EMIC wave - electron interaction region. Case studies employing conjugate ground-based or equatorial observations of the EMIC waves reveal that the energy of moderate and strong precipitation at ELFIN approximately agrees with theoretical expectations for cyclotron resonant interactions in a cold plasma. Using multiple years of ELFIN data uniformly distributed in local time, we assemble a statistical database of ∼50 events of strong EMIC wave-driven precipitation. Most reside at$L\sim 5-7$L57at dusk, while a smaller subset exists at$L\sim 8-12$L812at post-midnight. The energies of the peak-precipitation ratio and of the half-peak precipitation ratio (our proxy for the minimum resonance energy) exhibit an$L$L-shell dependence in good agreement with theoretical estimates based on prior statistical observations of EMIC wave power spectra. The precipitation ratio’s spectral shape for the most intense events has an exponential falloff away from the peak (i.e., on either side of$\sim 1.45$1.45MeV). It too agrees well with quasi-linear diffusion theory based on prior statistics of wave spectra. It should be noted though that this diffusive treatment likely includes effects from nonlinear resonant interactions (especially at high energies) and nonresonant effects from sharp wave packet edges (at low energies). Sub-MeV electron precipitation observed concurrently with strong EMIC wave-driven >1 MeV precipitation has a spectral shape that is consistent with efficient pitch-angle scattering down to ∼ 200-300 keV by much less intense higher frequency EMIC waves at dusk (where such waves are most frequent). At ∼100 keV, whistler-mode chorus may be implicated in concurrent precipitation. These results confirm the critical role of EMIC waves in driving relativistic electron losses. Nonlinear effects may abound and require further investigation.

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  7. Abstract

    Surface waves on Earth's magnetopause have a controlling effect upon global magnetospheric dynamics. Since spacecraft provide sparse in situ observation points, remote sensing these modes using ground‐based instruments in the polar regions is desirable. However, many open conceptual questions on the expected signatures remain. Therefore, we provide predictions of key qualitative features expected in auroral, ionospheric, and ground magnetic observations through both magnetohydrodynamic theory and a global coupled magnetosphere‐ionosphere simulation of a magnetopause surface eigenmode. These show monochromatic oscillatory field‐aligned currents (FACs), due to both the surface mode and its non‐resonant Alfvén coupling, are present throughout the magnetosphere. The currents peak in amplitude at the equatorward edge of the magnetopause boundary layer, not the open‐closed boundary as previously thought. They also exhibit slow poleward phase motion rather than being purely evanescent. We suggest the upward FAC perturbations may result in periodic auroral brightenings. In the ionosphere, convection vortices circulate the poleward moving FAC structures. Finally, surface mode signals are predicted in the ground magnetic field, with ionospheric Hall currents rotating perturbations by approximately (but not exactly) 90° compared to the magnetosphere. Thus typical dayside magnetopause surface modes should be strongest in the East‐West ground magnetic field component. Overall, all ground‐based signatures of the magnetopause surface mode are predicted to have the same frequency acrossL‐shells, amplitudes that maximize near the magnetopause's equatorward edge, and larger latitudinal scales than for field line resonance. Implications in terms of ionospheric Joule heating and geomagnetically induced currents are discussed.

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  8. 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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  9. A circuit analogy for magnetosphere-ionosphere current systems has two extremes for drivers of ionospheric currents: the “voltage generator” (ionospheric electric fields/voltages are constant, while current varies) and the “current generator” (current is constant, while the electric field varies). Here we indicate another aspect of the magnetosphere-ionosphere interaction, which should be taken into account when considering the current/voltage dichotomy. We show that nonsteady field-aligned currents interact with the ionosphere in a different way depending on a forced driving or resonant excitation. A quasi-DC driving of field-aligned current corresponds to a voltage generator, when the ground magnetic response is proportional to the ionospheric Hall conductance. The excitation of resonant field line oscillations corresponds to the current generator, when the ground magnetic response only weakly depends on the ionospheric conductance. According to the suggested conception, quasi-DC nonresonant disturbances correspond to a voltage generator. Such ultralow frequency (ULF) phenomena as traveling convection vortices and Pc5 waves should be considered as the resonant response of magnetospheric field lines, and they correspond to a current generator. However, there are quite a few factors that may obscure the determination of the current/voltage dichotomy. 
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