Magnetospheric signatures of ionospheric density cavities observed by Cluster

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We present Cluster measurements of large amplitude electric fields corre-
lated with intense downward field-aligned currents, observed during a nightside crossing of the auroral zone. The data are reproduced by a simple model of magnetosphere-ionosphere coupling which, under different conditions, can also produce a divergent electric field signature in the downward current region, or correlation between the electric and perturbed magnetic fields. We conclude that strong electric field associated with intense downward field-aligned current, such as this observation, is a signature of ionospheric plasma depletion caused by the downward current. It is also shown that the electric field in the downward current region correlates with downward current density if a background field is present, e.g. due to magnetospheric convection.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1876-1887
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics
Issue number3
Early online date19 Mar 2015
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2015


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