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An examination of inter-hemispheric conjugacy in a subauroral polarization stream

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


  • B. S. R. Kunduri
  • J. B. H. Baker
  • J. M. Ruohoniemi
  • L. B. N. Clausen
  • A. Grocott
  • E. G. Thomas
  • M. P. Freeman
  • E. R. Talaat
Article numberA08225
Journal publication date28/08/2012
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research
Number of pages17
Original languageEnglish


During geomagnetically disturbed conditions the midlatitude ionosphere is subject to intense poleward directed electric fields in the dusk-midnight sector. These electric fields lead to the generation of a latitudinally narrow westward directed flow channel in the subauroral region called a subauroral polarization stream (SAPS). If the magnetic field lines are treated as equipotentials, electrodynamic events such as SAPS are expected to occur simultaneously at magnetically conjugate locations with similar features. In this paper we present simultaneous observations of a SAPS event in both hemispheres made by midlatitude SuperDARN radars with conjugate fields-of-view. We analyze the relation between the geomagnetic conditions and the characteristics of the channels such as latitudinal location, electric field, total potential variations across the channels, and Pedersen current. The results suggest a strong correlation between the strength of the ring current and the latitudinal location of the channel. An inter-hemispheric comparison of the characteristics of the channel indicates that the potential variations across the channels are similar while the electric fields, Pedersen currents and latitudinal widths of the channel exhibit differences that are consistent with equal potential variations. We attribute these differences to seasonal differences in ionospheric conductivity between the hemispheres and magnetic distortion effects in the inner magnetosphere.

Bibliographic note

©2012. American Geophysical Union