Fundamentals of Current Description

  1. Thomas A. Potemra
  1. Vytenis M. Vasyliunas

Published Online: 21 MAR 2013

DOI: 10.1029/GM028p0063

Magnetospheric Currents

Magnetospheric Currents

How to Cite

Vasyliunas, V. M. (1984) Fundamentals of Current Description, in Magnetospheric Currents (ed T. A. Potemra), American Geophysical Union, Washington, D. C.. doi: 10.1029/GM028p0063

Author Information

  1. Max-Planck-Institut für Aeronomie, D-3411 Katlenburg-Lindau 3, Federal Republic of Germany

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


Electrical currents, defined in terms of the net flux of charge transported by particles, deduced from the curl of the magnetic field in most of the observational work to date as well as in many theoretical contexts, are related to plasma dynamics both by the momentum equation and by the MHD connection between plasma flow and the magnetic field configuration (relations not easily representable by circuit analogies). The momentum equation provides directly an expression for the current density perpendicular to the magnetic field and, in combination with the current continuity equation, also provides an expression for the field-aligned gradient of the parallel (Birkeland) current density; these expressions are here given with all inertial and pressure anisotropy effects taken into account.