Vortex Generation and Auroral Response to a Solar Wind Dynamic Pressure Increase: Event Analyses

Jinyan Zhao, Quanqi Shi*, Anmin Tian, Xiao‐Chen Shen, James M Weygand, Huizi Wang, Shutao Yao, Xiao Ma, Alexander William Degeling, I. Jonathan Rae, Hui Zhang, Xiao‐Jia Zhang, Shi‐Chen Bai, Wensai Shang, Jong‐Sun Park

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
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In this study, we investigate ionospheric responses, including currents and aurorae, to solar wind dynamic pressure (SW Pdyn) sudden increases, which are critical for understanding solar wind‐magnetosphere‐ionosphere coupling. We focus on two similar SW Pdyn pulse events that occurred on 24 January 2012 and 12 November 2010. In both cases, equivalent ionospheric currents (EIC) vortices were generated within about ten minutes after the pressure pulse arrival, with a counter‐clockwise rotating vortex (viewed from above) observed on the dusk side in the former case, and a clockwise vortex observed on the dawn side in the latter. Simultaneous ground‐based All‐Sky Imager (ASI) observations in the vicinity of the observed EIC vortex in each case showed that aurorae intensified on the dusk side, and diminished on the dawn side. These observations provide direct evidence of the scenario proposed byShi et al. (2014) that magnetospheric flow vortices generated by a solar wind pressure pulse carry field‐aligned currents into the ionosphere and thereby modulate auroral activity. The dawn/dusk asymmetry in the auroral intensification is a direct result of the opposite sense of vortex rotation on the dawn and dusk sides, which generate oppositely directed field‐aligned currents into/out of the ionosphere.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2020JA028753
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics
Issue number3
Early online date16 Mar 2021
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021


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