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  • Grocott2014a

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The influence of IMF clock angle timescales on the morphology of ionospheric convection

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>07/2014
<mark>Journal</mark>Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics
Issue number7
Volume119
Number of pages16
Pages (from-to)5861-5876
<mark>State</mark>Published
Early online date21/07/14
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Abstract

We exploit a database of high-latitude ionospheric electric potential patterns, derived from radar observations of plasma convection in the Northern Hemisphere from the years 2000–2006, to investigate the timescales of interplanetary magnetic field (IMF) control of ionospheric convection and associated magnetospheric dynamics. We parameterize the convection observations by IMF clock angle, θ (the angle between geocentric solar magnetic (GSM) north and the projection of the IMF vector onto the GSM Y-Z plane), and by an IMF timescale, τB (the length of time that a similar clock angle has been maintained prior to the convection observations being made). We find that the nature of the ionospheric convection changes with IMF clock angle, as expected from previous time-averaged studies, and that for τB∼30 min, the convection patterns closely resemble their time-averaged counterparts. However, as τB increases we find that the convection evolves away from the time-averaged patterns to reveal modified characteristic flow features. We discuss these findings in terms of solar wind-magnetosphere-ionosphere coupling and consider their implications for understanding the time-dependent nature of magnetospheric dynamics.

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This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.