The Magnetopheric Currents: An Introduction

  1. Thomas A. Potemra
  1. S.-I. Akasofu

Published Online: 21 MAR 2013

DOI: 10.1029/GM028p0029

Magnetospheric Currents

Magnetospheric Currents

How to Cite

Akasofu, S.-I. (1984) The Magnetopheric Currents: An Introduction, in Magnetospheric Currents (ed T. A. Potemra), American Geophysical Union, Washington, D. C.. doi: 10.1029/GM028p0029

Author Information

  1. Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska, Fairbanks, Alaska 99701

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 21 MAR 2013
  2. Published Print: 1 JAN 1984

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780875900551

Online ISBN: 9781118664131



  • Magnetospheric currents—Congresses;
  • Plasma instabilities—Congresses


One of the major goals of studying the magnetospheric currents is to gain understanding of the solar wind-magnetosphere-ionosphere system in terms of electric currents, more specifically their generation processes, their roles in coupling the magnetosphere and the ionosphere, their effects on the ionosphere, etc. This is quite natural because most magnetospheric phenomena are of electromagnetic nature and many magnetospheric processes are directly or indirectly related to electric currents. The basic physics associated with the magnetospheric currents is briefly described in terms of eight component current systems:

(1) the Sq current

(2) the Chapman-Ferraro current

(3) the ring current

(4) the solar wind-magnetosphere (SM) dynamo-generated currents

(4.1) the cross-tail current

(4.2) the substorm current

(4.3) the polar cap current

(4.4) the cusp current

(4.5) the pulsation current

It is pointed out that our morphological knowledge on the magnetospheric currents has considerably improved during the last two decades, but that an intensive theoretical study of generation processes of the currents has just begun. In particular, the SMD dynamo-generated currents are vital in understanding the solar wind-magnetosphere coupling and energy transfer. There is a great opportunity for young theorists to make a significant contribution to this discipline.