Role of inductive electric fields and currents in dynamical ionospheric situations

H. Vanhamäki, O. Amm, A. Viljanen

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20 Citations (Scopus)


We study the role of ionospheric induction in different commonly observed ionospheric situations. These include an intensifying electrojet, westward travelling surge (WTS) and Ω-band. We use data based, realistic models for these phenomena and calculate the inductive electric fields that are created due to the temporal variations of ionospheric currents. The ionospheric induction problem is solved using a new calculation technique that can handle non-uniform, time-dependent conductances and electric fields of any geometry. We find that in some situations inductive effects are not negligible and the ionospheric electric field is not a pure potential field, but has a significant induced rotational part. In the WTS and Ω-band models the induced electric field is concentrated in a small area, where the time derivatives are largest. In the electrojet model the induced field is significant over a large part of the jet area. In these examples the induced electric field has typical values of few mV/m, which amounts to several tens of percents of the potential electric field present at the same locations. The induced electric field is associated with ionospheric and field aligned currents (FAC), that modify the overall structure of the current systems. Especially the induced FAC are often comparable to the non-inductive FAC, and may thus modify the coupling between the ionosphere and magnetosphere in the most dynamical situations. We also present some examples with very simple ionospheric current systems, where the effect of different ionospheric parameters on the induction process is studied.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)437-455
Number of pages19
JournalAnnales Geophysicae
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2007
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Geology
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science


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