Dependence of Large-Scale Global Poynting Flux on IMF By Polarity Change

Wednesday, 17 December 2014
Beate Krøvel Humberset, University of Bergen, Birkeland Centre for Space Science, Bergen, Norway and Jesper W Gjerloev, Johns Hopkins University - Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, MD, United States
In this study we present the dependence of the global Poynting flux on the IMF By polarity change. The amount of energy that enters the magnetosphere from the solar wind is a function of the solar wind speed and pressure and the IMF orientation and magnitude. All the various published coupling models show that the polarity of the IMF By component does not change the energy input. In contrast the global convection patterns, and thus the ionospheric Pedersen currents, depend on IMF By polarity. This seems to imply that the ionospheric energy deposition is a function of IMF By polarity. Thus, there appear to be a fundamental difference between the input (from the solar wind) and the output (energy dissipating Pedersen currents). We, therefore, ask the question: To what extend is the global Poynting flux dependent on the IMF By polarity? We have performed a statistical study evaluating 59 abrupt transitions in the IMF By component (polarity changes) as measured by the ACE spacecraft. The effect of other solar wind coupling parameters, such as the IMF Bz component, are minimized by selecting events where these are nearly constant. We use electric field distributions from SuperDARN and field-aligned current distributions from AMPERE to calculate the global distribution of the Poynting Flux. To minimize the effect of magnetospheric energy unloading we focus on the 06-18 MLT region. We further investigate the dependence on solar induced conductivity. We find that the Poynting flux is slightly larger for positive IMF By compared to negative By conditions. For a low conductivity (not sunlit) ionosphere the Poynting flux is smaller than in the high conductivity (sunlit) ionosphere and we find a smaller dependence on IMF By polarity. The study emphasizes the global dynamic behavior of the ionosphere in its response to changes in the external driver (IMF).