Pressure-driven magnetopause motions and attendant response on the ground


The terrestrial magnetopause suffered considerable sudden changes in its location on 9–10 September 1978. These magnetopause motions were accompanied by disturbances of the geomagnetic field on the ground. We present a study of the magnetopause motions and the ground magnetic signatures using, for the latter, 10 s averaged data from 14 high latitude ground magnetometer stations. Observations in the solar wind (from IMP 8) are employed and the motions of the magnetopause are monitored directly by the spacecraft ISEE 1 and 2. With these coordinated observations we are able to show that it is the sudden changes in the solar wind dynamic pressure that are responsible for the disturbances seen on the ground. At some ground stations we see evidence of a “ringing” of the magnetospheric cavity, while at others only the initial impulse is evident. We note that at some stations field perturbations closely match the hypothesized ground signatures of flux transfer events. In accordance with more recent work in the area (e.g. Potemra et al., 1989, J. geophys. Res., in press), we argue that causes other than impulsive reeonnection may produce the twin ionospheric flow vortex originally proposed as a flux transfer even signature.

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Planetary and Space Science



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