We study the seasonal variation of high-latitude geomagnetic activity in individual years in 1966-2014 (solar cycles 20-24) by identifying the most active and the second most active season based on westward electrojet indices AL (1966-2014) and IL (1995-2014). The annual maximum is found at either equinox in two thirds and at either solstice in one third of the years examined. The traditional two-equinox maximum pattern is found in roughly one fourth of the years. We found that the seasonal variation of high-latitude geomagnetic activity closely follows the solar wind speed. While the mechanisms leading to the two-equinox maxima pattern are in operation, the long-term change of solar wind speed tends to mask the effect of these mechanisms for individual years. Large cycle-to-cycle variation is found in the seasonal pattern: equinox maxima are more common during cycles 21 and 22 than in cycles 23 or 24. Exceptionally long winter dominance in high-latitude activity and solar wind speed is seen in the declining phase of cycle 23, after the appearance of the long-lasting low-latitude coronal hole.
- Decadal time scales
- Geomagnetic activity
- Seasonal variation
- Solar cycle-to-cycle variation
- Solar wind-magnetosphere coupling
- Sun-Earth coupling