Statistical azimuthal structuring of the substorm onset arc: implications for the onset mechanism

N. M. E. Kalmoni*, I. J. Rae, K. R. Murphy, C. Forsyth, C. E. J. Watt, C. J. Owen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)
1 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

The onset of an auroral substorm is generally thought to occur on a quiet, homogeneous auroral arc. We present a statistical study of independently-selected substorm onset arcs and find that over 902688 of auroral beads have small amplitudes relative to the background, making them invisible without quantitative analysis. This confirms that auroral beads are highly likely to be ubiquitous to all onset arcs, rather than a special case phenomena as previously thought. Moreover, as these auroral beads grow exponentially through onset, we conclude that a magnetospheric plasma instability is fundamental to substorm onset itself.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2078-2087
Number of pages10
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Volume44
Issue number5
Early online date4 Mar 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 16 Mar 2017
Externally publishedYes

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