Electrodynamics of Convection in the Inner Magnetosphere

  1. Thomas A. Potemra
  1. R. W. Spiro and
  2. R. A. Wolf

Published Online: 21 MAR 2013

DOI: 10.1029/GM028p0247

Magnetospheric Currents

Magnetospheric Currents

How to Cite

Spiro, R. W. and Wolf, R. A. (1984) Electrodynamics of Convection in the Inner Magnetosphere, in Magnetospheric Currents (ed T. A. Potemra), American Geophysical Union, Washington, D. C.. doi: 10.1029/GM028p0247

Author Information

  1. Department of Space Physics and Astronomy, Rice University, Houston, TX 77251

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


During the past ten years, substantial progress has been made in the development of quantitative models of convection in the magnetosphere and of the electrodynamic processes that couple that magnetosphere and ionosphere. These models compute electric fields, electric currents, and magnetospheric plasma distributions within the inner magnetosphere, where the flow speeds associated with convection are slow compared to the propagation speeds of waves in the magnetospheric medium, and where the magnetic field configuration can be estimated with reasonable accuracy from an independent magnetic field model.

Using a computational scheme first proposed by Vasyliunas, the convection models under consideration separate the three-dimensional problem of convection in the inner magnetosphere/ionosphere into a pair of two-dimensional problems coupled by Birkeland currents flowing between the two regions. We review the logic, development, and major results of the inner magnetosphere convection model with emphasis on ionospheric and magnetospheric currents. A major theoretical result of the models has been the clarification of the relationship between the region 1/region 2 picture of field-aligned currents and the older partial ring current/tail current interruption picture of substorm dynamics.