Thin Current Sheets in the Magnetotail During Substorms - Cdaw-6 Revisited

T.I. Pulkkinen, DN BAKER, DG MITCHELL, RL MCPHERRON, CY HUANG, LA FRANK

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

The global magnetic field configuration during the growth phase of the CDAW 6 substrom (March 22, 1979, 1054 UT) is modeled using data from two suitably located spacecraft and temporally evolving variations of the Tsyganenko magnetic field model. These results are compared with a local calculation of the current sheet location and thickness carried out by McPherron et al. (1987) and Sanny et al. (this issue). Both models suggest that during the growth phase the current sheet rotated away from its nominal location, and simultaneously thinned strongly. The locations and thicknesses obtained from the two models are in good agreement. The global model suggests that the peak current density is approximately 120 nA/m2, and that the cross-tail current almost doubled its intensity during this very strong growth phase. The global model predicts a field configuration that is sufficiently stretched to scatter thermal electrons, which may be conducive to the onset of ion tearing in the tail. The electron plasma data further support this scenario, as the anisotropy present in the low-energy electrons disappears close to the substorm onset. The electron contribution to the intensifying current in this case is of the order of 10% before the isotropization of the distribution.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5793-5803
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research
Volume99
Issue numberA4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 1994
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Keywords

  • MAGNETOSPHERIC MAGNETIC-FIELD
  • TAIL CURRENT SHEET
  • GEOMAGNETIC TAIL
  • GROWTH-PHASE
  • MARCH 22
  • DYNAMICS
  • INTERVALS

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