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Title: The orientation and current density of the magnetotail current sheet: A statistical study of the effect of geomagnetic conditions
Authors: Davey, E. A.
Lester, M.
Milan, S. E.
Fear, R. C.
Forsyth, C.
First Published: 24-Jul-2012
Publisher: American Geophysical Union (AGU); Wiley
Citation: Journal of Geophysical Research A: SPACE PHYSICS, 2012, 117 (7)
Abstract: [1] We examine the orientation and current density of the current sheet during current sheet crossings from Cluster's 2001–2007 tail seasons. The curlometer technique is used to estimate the current density and is combined with Minimum Variance Analysis (MVA) to calculate the direction of the current sheet normal. The SYM-H and AE indices at the time of each crossing are employed to assess how the tilt angle (the angle the normal makes with the Z axis in the GSM YZ plane) and current density depend on geomagnetic conditions. Our results indicate a larger current sheet tilt in the YZ plane during intervals of stronger and/or more prolonged substorm activity, as indicated by the AE index. There is also evidence that when the ring current is enhanced during magnetic storms, the current sheet is less tilted even though the AE index is also disturbed. In addition larger current densities are seen during times of both magnetic storms and substorms, compared to crossings during only substorms and a quiet ring current. We conclude that increased substorm activity disrupts the current sheet structure resulting in greater motion of the current sheet (as found by Davey et al. (2012)) and a greater local tilt to the current sheet. We propose that the increased open flux in the tail during magnetic storms stabilizes the current sheet such that the tilt angle of the current sheet is reduced. The increased amount of open flux during magnetic storms also results in larger current densities within the current sheet.
DOI Link: 10.1029/2012JA017715
ISSN: 0148-0227
Version: Publisher Version
Status: Peer-reviewed
Type: Journal Article
Rights: Copyright © 2012 by the American Geophysical Union. All rights reserved. Archived with reference to Usage Permissions granted to authors, available at
Appears in Collections:Published Articles, Dept. of Physics and Astronomy

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