Three-Dimensional Birkeland-Ionospheric Current System Determined from MAGSAT

  1. Thomas A. Potemra
  1. L. J. Zanetti1,
  2. W. Baumjohann2,
  3. T. A. Potemra3 and
  4. P. F. Bythrow3

Published Online: 21 MAR 2013

DOI: 10.1029/GM028p0123

Magnetospheric Currents

Magnetospheric Currents

How to Cite

Zanetti, L. J., Baumjohann, W., Potemra, T. A. and Bythrow, P. F. (1984) Three-Dimensional Birkeland-Ionospheric Current System Determined from MAGSAT, in Magnetospheric Currents (ed T. A. Potemra), American Geophysical Union, Washington, D. C.. doi: 10.1029/GM028p0123

Author Information

  1. 1

    The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, Maryland

  2. 2

    Max-Planck Institute für Extraterrestrsche Physik, Garching, W. Germany

  3. 3

    The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, Maryland

Publication History

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

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780875900551

Online ISBN: 9781118664131

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Keywords:

  • Magnetospheric currents—Congresses;
  • Plasma instabilities—Congresses

Summary

The relationship of Birkeland currents and ionospheric currents has been determined from MAGSAT magnetic field observations. A two-dimensional ionospheric current analysis using a Fourier technique has been used in this study of several MAGSAT orbits on March 21, 1980. The use of the MAGSAT data allows an extensive ionospheric current system to be matched directly to the inferred Birkeland current system without the aid of a conductivity model (this is not the case with Birkeland currents deduced from surface magnetic field measurements). The results include electrojet current distributions that are generally triangular with peak intensity at the center and, in some cases, more complicated distributions associated with equally complicated Birkeland currents. The Birkeland currents generally occupy the same latitudes as do the electrojets, and the Region I-Region 2 boundary is located near the center of the electrojet.