The University of Southampton
University of Southampton Institutional Repository

Substorm evolution of auroral structures

Partamies, Noora, Juusola, Liisa, Whiter, Daniel and Kauristie, Kirsti (2015) Substorm evolution of auroral structures Journal of Geophysical Research, 120, (7), pp. 5958-5972. (doi:10.1002/2015JA021217).

Record type: Article


Auroral arcs are often associated with magnetically quiet time and substorm growth phases. We have studied the evolution of auroral structures during global and local magnetic activity to investigate the occurrence rate of auroral arcs during different levels of magnetic activity. The ground-magnetic and auroral conditions are described by the magnetometer and auroral camera data from five Magnetometers — Ionospheric radars — All-sky cameras Large Experiment stations in Finnish and Swedish Lapland. We identified substorm growth, expansion, and recovery phases from the local electrojet index (IL) in 1996–2007 and analyzed the auroral structures during the different phases. Auroral structures were also analyzed during different global magnetic activity levels, as described by the planetary Kp index. The distribution of auroral structures for all substorm phases and Kp levels is of similar shape. About one third of all detected structures are auroral arcs. This suggests that auroral arcs occur in all conditions as the main element of the aurora. The most arc-dominated substorm phases occur in the premidnight sector, while the least arc-dominated substorm phases take place in the dawn sector. Arc event lifetimes and expectation times calculated for different substorm phases show that the longest arc-dominated periods are found during growth phases, while the longest arc waiting times occur during expansion phases. Most of the arc events end when arcs evolve to more complex structures. This is true for all substorm phases. Based on the number of images of auroral arcs and the durations of substorm phases, we conclude that a randomly selected auroral arc most likely belongs to a substorm expansion phase. A small time delay, of the order of a minute, is observed between the magnetic signature of the substorm onset (i.e., the beginning of the negative bay) and the auroral breakup (i.e., the growth phase arc changing into a dynamic display). The magnetic onset was observed to precede the structural change in the auroral display. A longer delay of a few minutes was found between the beginning of the growth phase and the first detected auroral structure.

Full text not available from this repository.

More information

Accepted/In Press date: 19 June 2015
Published date: 22 July 2015
Organisations: Astronomy Group


Local EPrints ID: 397224
ISSN: 0148-0227
PURE UUID: b59a0e43-3aa8-4673-a5df-e89f178cf844
ORCID for Daniel Whiter: ORCID iD

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 22 Jun 2016 13:20
Last modified: 17 Jul 2017 18:41

Export record



Author: Noora Partamies
Author: Liisa Juusola
Author: Daniel Whiter ORCID iD
Author: Kirsti Kauristie

University divisions

Download statistics

Downloads from ePrints over the past year. Other digital versions may also be available to download e.g. from the publisher's website.

View more statistics

Atom RSS 1.0 RSS 2.0

Contact ePrints Soton:

ePrints Soton supports OAI 2.0 with a base URL of

This repository has been built using EPrints software, developed at the University of Southampton, but available to everyone to use.

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive cookies on the University of Southampton website.