Simultaneous prenoon and postnoon observations of three field-aligned current systems from viking and DMSP-F7

S. Ohtani, T. A. Potemra, P. T. Newell, L. J. Zanetti, T. Iijima, M. Watanabe, M. Yamauchi, R. D. Elphinstone, O. De La Beaujardière, L. G. Blomberg

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46 Citations (Scopus)


The spatial structure of dayside large-scale field-aligned current (FAC) systems is examined by using Viking and DMSP-F7 data. We focus on four events in which the satellites simultaneously observed postnoon and prenoon three FAC systems: the region 2,the region 1, and the mantle (referred to as midday region 0) systems, from equatorward to poleward. These events provide the most solid evidence to date that the midday region 0) system is a separate and unique FAC system, and is not an extension of the region 1 system from other local times. The events are examined comprehensively by making use of a multi-instrument data set, which includes magnetic field, particle flux, electric field, ayroral UV image data from the satellites, and the Sondrestrom convection data. The results are summarized as follows: (1) Region 2 currents flow mostly in the CPS precipitation region, often overlapping with the BPS at their poleward edge. (2) The region 1 system is located in the core part of the auroral oval and is confined in a relatively narrow range in latitude which includes the convection reversal. The low-latitude boundary layer, possibly including the outer part of the plasma sheet, and the external cusp are the major source regions of dayside region 1 currents. (3) Midday region 0 currents flow on open field lines and are collocated with the shear of antisunward convection flows with velocities decreasing poleward. On the basis of these results we support the view that both prenoon and postnoon current systems consist of the three-sheet structure when the distortion of the convection pattern associated with interplanetary magnetic field (IMF) BY is small and both momingside and eveningside convection cells are crescentshaped. We also propose that the midday region 0 and a part of the region 1 systems are closely coupled to the same source.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)119-136
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research
Issue numberA1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1995
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • Oceanography
  • Forestry
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Soil Science
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Palaeontology


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