Impact Angle Control of Interplanetary Shock Geoeffectiveness
Wednesday, 17 December 2014
We use OpenGGCM global MHD simulations to study the nightside magnetospheric/ magnetotail/ ionospheric responses to interplanetary (IP) fast foward shocks. Three cases are presented in this study: two inclined oblique shocks, hereafter IOS-1 and IOS-2, where the latter has a Mach number twice stronger than the former. Both shocks have impact angles of 30o in relation to the Sun-Earth line. Lastly, we choose a frontal perpendicular shock, FPS, whose shock normal is along th Sun-Earth line, with the same Mach number as IOS-1. We find that, in the IOS-1 case, due to the north-south asymmetry, the magnetotail is deflected southward, leading to a mild compression. The geomagnetic activity observed in the nightside ionosphere is then weak. On the other hand, in the head-on case, the FPS compresses the magnetotail on both sides symmetrically. This compression triggers a substorm allowing a larger amount of stored energy in the magnetotail to be released to the nightside ionosphere, resulting in a larger geomagnetic activity there. By comparing IOS-2 and FPS, we find that, despite the IOS-2 having a larger Mach number, the FPS leads to larger geomagnetic responses in the ionosphere nightside. As a result, we conclude that IP shocks with similar upstream conditions, such as magnetic field, speed, density, and even Mach number, can be differently geoeffective, depending on their shock normal orientation.