Pi2 magnetic pulsations, auroral break-ups, and the substorm current wedge: A case study

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A.B. Pashin
K.H. Glasmeier
W. Baumjohann
O.M. Raspopov
A.G. Yahnin
H.J. Opgenoorth
R.J. Pellinen


The two-dimensional distribution of the characteristics of Pi2 magnetic pulsations observed by the Scandinavian Magnetometer Array (SMA) during the passage of a westward travelling surge on 11 November 1976 and during three sucessive auroral break-ups around magnetic midnight on 15 February 1977 have been studied in relation to the position of active aurora and the break-up current system. On both days the greatest Pi2 amplitudes were collocated with the region where the brightest auroras were observed. The sense of polarization of the horizontal disturbance vectors changed along longitudinal and meridional lines. The two-dimensional equivalent current system of the Pi2 pulsations resembled a circular current vortex around the location of the localized upward field-aligned currents and changed its direction from counterclockwise to clockwise and back to counterclockwise again within one Pi2 cycle. Our observations indicate that the generation of Pi2 pulsations is not directly connected to periodic fluctuations of the complete current system at substorm onset, but that the upward directed field-aligned currents at the western edge of this system play the most important role for the Pi2 generation.

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Pashin, A., Glasmeier, K., Baumjohann, W., Raspopov, O., Yahnin, A., Opgenoorth, H., & Pellinen, R. (1982). Pi2 magnetic pulsations, auroral break-ups, and the substorm current wedge: A case study. Journal of Geophysics, 51(1), 223-233. Retrieved from https://journal.geophysicsjournal.com/JofG/article/view/167
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