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Geomagnetic storms driven by ICME- and CIR-dominated solar wind.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

  • Michael H. Denton
  • Joseph E. Borovsky
  • R. M. Skoug
  • M. F. Thomsen
  • B. Lavraud
  • M. G. Henderson
  • R. L. McPherron
  • J. C. Zhang
  • M. W. Liemohn
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>2006
<mark>Journal</mark>Journal of Geophysical Research
Issue numberA07S07
Number of pages12
Pages (from-to)1-12
<mark>Original language</mark>English


The interaction of the solar wind and the Earth's magnetosphere is complex and the phenomenology of the interaction is very different for solar wind dominated by interplanetary coronal mass ejections (ICMEs) compared to solar wind dominated by corotating interaction regions (CIRs). We perform a superposed epoch study of the effects of ICME- and CIR-dominated solar wind upon the storm-time plasma at geosynchronous orbit using data from the magnetospheric plasma analyzer (MPA) instruments on board seven Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) satellites. Using 78 ICME events and 32 CIR events, we examine the electron and ion plasma sheets that are formed during each type of solar wind driver, at energy-per-charge between ∼0.1 and 45 keV/q. The results demonstrate that CIR events produce a more significant modulation in the plasma sheet temperature than ICME events, whilst ICME events produce a more significant modulation in the plasma sheet density than CIR events. We attribute these differences to the average speed in the solar wind and a combination of the density of the solar wind and the ionospheric component of the plasma sheet, respectively. We also show that for CIR events, the magnitude of the spacecraft potential is, on average, significantly greater than during ICME-events, with consequent effects upon the performance of instrumentation within this environment.

Bibliographic note

Copyright (2006) American Geophysical Union.