Observations of Ionospheric Flux Ropes above South Pole

  1. C. T. Russell,
  2. E. R. Priest and
  3. L. C. Lee
  1. Z. M. Lin1,
  2. J. R. Benbrook1,
  3. E. A. Bering1,
  4. G. J. Byrne1,
  5. E. Friis-Christensen2,
  6. D. Liang1,
  7. B. Liao1 and
  8. J. Theall1

Published Online: 21 MAR 2013

DOI: 10.1029/GM058p0581

Physics of Magnetic Flux Ropes

Physics of Magnetic Flux Ropes

How to Cite

Lin, Z. M., Benbrook, J. R., Bering, E. A., Byrne, G. J., Friis-Christensen, E., Liang, D., Liao, B. and Theall, J. (1990) Observations of Ionospheric Flux Ropes above South Pole, in Physics of Magnetic Flux Ropes (eds C. T. Russell, E. R. Priest and L. C. Lee), American Geophysical Union, Washington, D. C.. doi: 10.1029/GM058p0581

Author Information

  1. 1

    Physics Department, University of Houston, Houston, Texas 77204–5504

  2. 2

    Division of Geophysics, Danish Meteorological Institute, Lyngbyvej 100, DK 2100, Copenhagen, Denmark

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 21 MAR 2013
  2. Published Print: 1 JAN 1990

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780875900261

Online ISBN: 9781118663868



  • Solar photosphere;
  • Magnetic flux;
  • Astrophysics


Two different models of the current flow in ionospheric flux ropes have been studied by numerical techniques. In each case, we assume that the ionosphere is flat and parallel to the Earth's surface, and that the height-integrated conductivity is uniform, and we solve the problem of mapping the electric field from the ionosphere down to balloon altitude. The observed electric signals at balloon altitudes and magnetic signals on the ground may be a superposition of signals of the towing system and the twisting system. We are particularly interested in an isolated event that occurred at ∼1625 UT on 3 January 1986. It exhibits many features predicted by these two models. We present a fit of the models to the electric and magnetic field data, which were acquired at South Pole Station during the 1985–1986 South Pole Balloon Campaign. We also have examined Greenland magnetometer chain data and Iqaluit magnetometer data. All these data imply that this event was localized in longitude and global in the sense of occurring at conjugate points. IMP 8 solar wind plasma and interplanetary magnetic field (IMF) data show no evidence of a significant pressure perturbation associated with the event. They do show that the event occurred just as a strong southward turning of the IMF, seen slightly earlier at IMP 8, passed the earth.