An application of the finite length Cowling channel model to auroral arcs with longitudinal variations

R. Fujii, O. Amm, H. Vanhamki, A. Yoshikawa, A. Ieda

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6 Citations (Scopus)


A physical process for the latitudinal motion of an auroral arc based on the four-side bound Cowling channel model is proposed. Assuming that an upward field-aligned current (FAC) is associated with the auroral arc that forms a Cowling channel with finite lengths not only latitudinally but also longitudinally and that the upward FAC region is primarily embedded in a purely northward electric field, the primary Hall current driven by the northward electric field accumulates positive excess charges at the eastern edge of the channel and negative charges at the western edge for a perfect or partial Cowling channel with a nonzero Cowling efficiency. The charges produce a westward secondary electric field, indicating that a westward electric field can thus be produced by a purely northward primary electric field. This secondary electric field moves the arc with its magnetospheric source drifting together with the magnetospheric plasmas equatorward and simultaneously produces the electric field outside the channel that moves the downward FAC equatorward of the upward FAC region equatorward together with the upward FAC. Thus, the whole 3-D current system is expected to move equatorward as often observed in the afternoon auroral zone.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberA11217
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Geophysics


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