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Structure of high latitude currents in global magnetospheric-ionospheric models

July 1, 2016

Using three resolutions of the Lyon-Fedder-Mobarry global magnetosphere-ionosphere model (LFM) and the Weimer 2005 empirical model we examine the structure of the high latitude field-aligned current patterns. Each resolution was run for the entire Whole Heliosphere Interval which contained two high speed solar wind streams and modest interplanetary magnetic field strengths. Average states of the field-aligned current (FAC) patterns for 8 interplanetary magnetic field clock angle directions are computed using data from these runs. Generally speaking the patterns obtained agree well with results obtained from the Weimer 2005 computing using the solar wind and IMF conditions that correspond to each bin. As the simulation resolution increases the currents become more intense and narrow. A machine learning analysis of the FAC patterns shows that the ratio of Region 1 (R1) to Region 2 (R2) currents decreases as the simulation resolution increases. This brings the simulation results into better agreement with observational predictions and the Weimer 2005 model results. The increase in R2 current strengths also results in the cross polar cap potential (CPCP) pattern being concentrated in higher latitudes. Current-voltage relationships between the R1 and CPCP are quite similar at the higher resolution indicating the simulation is converging on a common solution. We conclude that LFM simulations are capable of reproducing the statistical features of FAC patterns.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2016
Title Structure of high latitude currents in global magnetospheric-ionospheric models
DOI 10.1007/s11214-016-0271-2
Authors M Wiltberger, E. J. Rigler, V Merkin, J. G Lyon
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Space Science Reviews
Index ID 70184348
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Geologic Hazards Science Center