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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/angeo-2019-56
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/angeo-2019-56
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: regular paper 15 Apr 2019

Submitted as: regular paper | 15 Apr 2019

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This discussion paper is a preprint. A revision of this manuscript was accepted for the journal Annales Geophysicae (ANGEO) and is expected to appear here in due course.

Strong Southward and Northward Currents Observed in the Inner Plasma Sheet

Yanyan Yang1,2, Chao Shen3, and Yong Ji4 Yanyan Yang et al.
  • 1Institute of Crustal Dynamics, China Earthquake Administration, Beijing, 100085, China
  • 2Key Laboratory of Crustal Dynamics, China Earthquake Administration, Beijing, 100085, China
  • 3Harbin Institute of Technology, Shenzhen, 518055, China
  • 4Department of Mechanics and Engineering Science, Peking University, Beijing, 100871, China

Abstract. It is generally believed that field aligned currents (FACs) and the ring current (RC) are two dominant parts of the inner magnetosphere. However, using the Cluster spacecraft crossing of the pre-midnight inner plasma sheet in the latitude region between 10° N and 30° N, it is found that, during large storm events, in addition to FACs and the RC, there also exist strong southward and northward currents, which cannot be FACs, because the magnetic field in these regions is mainly along the XY plane. Detailed investigation shows that both magnetic field lines (MFLs) and currents in these regions highly fluctuate. When the curvature of MFLs changes direction in the XY plane, the current also alternatively switches between southward and northward. Further analysis of the current generation mechanism indicates that the most reasonable candidate for the origin of these southward and northward currents is the curvature drift of energetic particles.

Yanyan Yang et al.
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Yanyan Yang et al.
Yanyan Yang et al.
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Latest update: 19 Sep 2019
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Short summary
Previous studies show that the ring current (RC) and field-aligned currents (FACs) are the dominant currents in the inner magnetosphere. However, through two large storm events observed by Cluster, we find new strong southward and northward currents in the latitude region from 10° N to 30° N. Theoretical analysis indicates that these currents are originated from the fluctuation of magnetic field lines during strong geomagnetic storms.
Previous studies show that the ring current (RC) and field-aligned currents (FACs) are the...
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