Properties of the boundary layer potential for northward interplanetary magnetic field

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Abstract

[1] We present a method for estimating the portion of the ionospheric high-latitude potential that maps to the magnetospheric boundary layer during steady northward IMF and global ionospheric 4-cell convection patterns associated with lobe reconnection, together with the results of a statistical study based on DMSP F13 data from 1996–2004. In comparison with a previous study for steady southward IMF by K. Å. T. Sundberg et al. (2008), the results show significantly larger boundary layer potentials, with a mean value of 10 kV for the 271 events studied, corresponding to roughly 30–35% of the potential generated by the solar wind interaction. In a statistical analysis, the boundary layer potential is also shown to depend significantly on viscous parameters such as the solar wind velocity, density and pressure.

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