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  1. Dynamic mesoscale flow structures move across the open field line regions of the polar caps and then enter the nightside plasma sheet where they can cause important space weather disturbances, such as streamers, substorms, and omega bands. The polar cap structures have long durations (apparently at least ∼1½ to 2 h), but their connections to disturbances have received little attention. Hence, it will be important to uncover what causes these flow enhancement channels, how they map to the magnetospheric and magnetosheath structures, and what controls their propagation across the polar cap and their dynamic effects after reaching the nightside auroral oval. The examples presented here use 630-nm auroral and radar observations and indicate that the motion of flow channels could be critical for determining when and where a particular disturbance within the nightside auroral oval will be triggered, and this could be included for full understanding of flow channel connections to disturbances. Also, it is important to determine how polar cap flow channels lead to flow channels within the auroral oval, i.e., the plasma sheet, and determine the conditions along nightside oval/plasma sheet field lines that interact with an incoming polar cap flow channel to cause a particular disturbance. It willmore »also be interesting to consider the generality of geomagnetic disturbances being related to connections with incoming polar cap flow channels, including the location, time, and type of disturbances, and whether the duration and expansion of disturbances are related to flow channel duration and to multiple flow channels.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 27, 2024
  2. This paper reviews key properties and major unsolved problems about Strong Thermal Emission Velocity Enhancement (STEVE) and the picket fence. We first introduce the basic characteristics of STEVE and historical observations of STEVE-like emissions, particularly the case on 11 September 1891. Then, we discuss major open questions about STEVE: 1) Why does STEVE preferentially occur in equinoxes? 2) How do the solar wind and storm/substorm conditions control STEVE? 3) Why is STEVE rare, despite that STEVE does not seem to require extreme driving conditions? 4) What are the multi-scale structures of STEVE? 5) What mechanisms determine the properties of the picket fence? 6) What are the chemistry and emission mechanisms of STEVE? 7) What are the impacts of STEVE on the ionosphere−thermosphere system? Also, 8) what is the relation between STEVE, stable auroral red (SAR) arcs, and the subauroral proton aurora? These issues largely concern how STEVE is created as a unique mode of response of the subauroral magnetosphere−ionosphere−thermosphere coupling system. STEVE, SAR arcs, and proton auroras, the three major types of subauroral emissions, require energetic particle injections to the pre-midnight inner magnetosphere and interaction with cold plasma. However, it is not understood why they occur at different times andmore »why they can co-exist and transition from one to another. Strong electron injections into the pre-midnight sector are suggested to be important for driving intense subauroral ion drifts (SAID). A system-level understanding of how the magnetosphere creates distinct injection features, drives subauroral flows, and disturbs the thermosphere to create optical emissions is required to address the key questions about STEVE. The ionosphere−thermosphere modeling that considers the extreme velocity and heating should be conducted to answer what chemical and dynamical processes occur and how much the STEVE luminosity can be explained. Citizen scientist photographs and scientific instruments reveal the evolution of fine-scale structures of STEVE and their connection to the picket fence. Photographs also show the undulation of STEVE and the localized picket fence. High-resolution observations are required to resolve fine-scale structures of STEVE and the picket fence, and such observations are important to understand underlying processes in the ionosphere and thermosphere.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 18, 2024
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  4. Free, publicly-accessible full text available November 1, 2023
  5. An important question that is being increasingly studied across subdisciplines of Heliophysics is “how do mesoscale phenomena contribute to the global response of the system?” This review paper focuses on this question within two specific but interlinked regions in Near-Earth space: the magnetotail’s transition region to the inner magnetosphere and the ionosphere. There is a concerted effort within the Geospace Environment Modeling (GEM) community to understand the degree to which mesoscale transport in the magnetotail contributes to the global dynamics of magnetic flux transport and dipolarization, particle transport and injections contributing to the storm-time ring current development, and the substorm current wedge. Because the magnetosphere-ionosphere is a tightly coupled system, it is also important to understand how mesoscale transport in the magnetotail impacts auroral precipitation and the global ionospheric system response. Groups within the Coupling, Energetics and Dynamics of Atmospheric Regions Program (CEDAR) community have also been studying how the ionosphere-thermosphere responds to these mesoscale drivers. These specific open questions are part of a larger need to better characterize and quantify mesoscale “messengers” or “conduits” of information—magnetic flux, particle flux, current, and energy—which are key to understanding the global system. After reviewing recent progress and open questions, we suggest datasetsmore »that, if developed in the future, will help answer these questions.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 27, 2024
  6. Abstract It has been suggested that ion foreshock waves originating in the solar wind upstream of the quasi-parallel ( Q -||) shock can impact the planetary magnetosphere leading to standing shear Alfvén waves, i.e., the field line resonances (FLRs). In this paper, we carry out simulations of interaction between the solar wind and terrestrial magnetosphere under radial interplanetary magnetic field conditions by using a 3-D global hybrid model, and show the properties of self-consistently generated field line resonances through direct mode conversion in magnetospheric response to the foreshock disturbances for the first time. The simulation results show that the foreshock disturbances from the Q -|| shock can excite magnetospheric ultralow-frequency waves, among which the toroidal Alfvén waves are examined. It is found that the foreshock wave spectrum covers a wide frequency range and matches the band of FLR harmonics after excluding the Doppler shift effects. The fundamental harmonic of field line resonances dominates and has the strongest wave power, and the higher the harmonic order, the weaker the corresponding wave power. The nodes and anti-nodes of the odd and even harmonics in the equatorial plane are also presented. In addition, as the local Alfvén speed increases earthward, the corresponding frequency ofmore »each harmonic increases. The field-aligned current in the cusp region indicative of the possibly observable aurora is found to be a result of magnetopause perturbation which is caused by the foreshock disturbances, and a global view substantiating this scenario is given. Finally, it is found that when the solar wind Mach number decreases, the strength of both field line resonance and field-aligned current decreases accordingly.« less
  7. The geospace response to coronal mass ejections includes phenomena across many regions, from reconnection at the dayside and magnetotail, through the inner magnetosphere, to the ionosphere, and even to the ground. Phenomena occurring in each region are often connected to each other through the magnetic field, but that field undergoes dynamic changes during storms and substorms. Improving our understanding of the geospace response to storms requires a global picture that enables us to observe all the regions simultaneously with both spatial and temporal resolution. Using the Energetic Neutral Atom (ENA) imager on the Two Wide-Angle Imaging Neutral-Atom Spectrometers (TWINS) mission, a temperature map can be calculated to provide a global view of the magnetotail. These maps are combined with in situ measurements at geosynchronous orbit from GOES 13 and 15, auroral images from all sky imagers (ASIs), and ground magnetometer measurements to examine the global geospace response of a coronal mass ejection (CME) driven event on March 12th, 2012. Mesoscale features in the magnetotail are observed throughout the interval, including prior to the storm commencement and during the main phase, which has implications for the dominant processes that lead to pressure buildup in the inner magnetosphere. Auroral enhancements that canmore »be associated with these magnetotail features through magnetosphere-ionosphere coupling are observed to appear only after global reconfigurations of the magnetic field.« less
  8. Flow bursts are a major component of transport within the plasma sheet and auroral oval (where they are referred to as flow channels), and lead to a variety of geomagnetic disturbances as they approach the inner plasma sheet (equatorward portion of the auroral oval). However, their two-dimensional structure as they approach the inner plasma sheet has received only limited attention. We have examined this structure using both the Rice Convection Model (RCM) and ground-based radar and all sky imager observations. As a result of the energy dependent magnetic drift, the low entropy plasma of a flow burst spreads azimuthally within the inner plasma sheet yielding specific predictions of subauroral polarization stream (SAPS) and dawnside auroral polarization stream (DAPS) enhancements that are related to the field-aligned currents associated with the flow channel. Flow channels approximately centered between the dawn and dusk large-scale convection cells are predicted to give significant enhancements of both SAPS and DAPS, whereas flow channel further toward the dusk (dawn) convection cell show a far more significant enhancement of SAPS (DAPS) than for DAPS (SAPS). We present observations for cases having good coverage of flow channels as they approach the equatorward portion of the auroral oval and findmore »very good qualitative agreement with the above RCM predictions, including the predicted differences with respect to flow burst location. Despite there being an infinite variety of flow channels’ plasma parameters and of background plasma sheet and auroral oval conditions, the observations show the general trends predicted by the RCM simulations with the idealized parameters. This supports that RCM predictions of the azimuthal spread of a low-entropy plasma sheet plasma and its associated FAC and flow responses give a realistic physical description of the structure of plasma sheet flow bursts (auroral oval flow channels) as they reach the inner plasma sheet (near the equatorward edge of the auroral oval).« less