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).

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Description/Abstract

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.

Item Type: Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi:10.1002/2015JA021217
ISSNs: 0148-0227 (print)
Organisations: Astronomy Group
ePrint ID: 397224
Date :
Date Event
19 June 2015Accepted/In Press
22 July 2015Published
Date Deposited: 22 Jun 2016 13:20
Last Modified: 17 Apr 2017 02:40
Further Information:Google Scholar
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/397224

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