Response of ionospheric electric fields at mid-low latitudes during geomagnetic sudden commencements

Friday, 19 December 2014
Naoko Takahashi1, Yasumasa Kasaba1, Atsuki Shinbori2, Yukitoshi Nishimura3, Takashi Kikuchi4, Yusuke Ebihara2 and Tsutomu Nagatsuma5, (1)Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan, (2)Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan, (3)University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA, United States, (4)Kyoto University, Research Institute for Sustainable Humanosphere, Kyoto, Japan, (5)NICT National Institute of Information and Communications Technology, Tokyo, Japan
Geomagnetic sudden commencements (SCs) are known as one of the distinct magnetospheric disturbance phenomena triggered by solar wind disturbances. Many previous studies have focused on the generation mechanism of SCs by using in-situ observations and simulations. However, the global evolution of ionospheric electric fields has primarily been estimated from the ionospheric current. Although a few studies utilized electric field data from radar observations, the coverage is limited in time, and limited component of the electric field is obtained. In this study, we investigated the response and local time dependence of the ionospheric electric field at mid-low latitudes associated with 203 SCs occurred from 1999 to 2004 by the in-situ observation of the ROCSAT-1 spacecraft. We found that the ionospheric electric field associated with SCs instantaneously responds to geomagnetic fields regardless of spacecraft local time. Our statistical analysis also showed the instantaneous response of the electric field, which indicates the global instant transmission of the electric field from polar region. In contrast, peak times in the preliminary impulse (PI) and main impulse (MI) phases were different between the ionospheric electric field and equatorial geomagnetic field (20 sec in the PI phase). Based on a comparison to the ground-ionosphere waveguide model by Kikuchi [2014], this time lag is suggested to be due to the latitudinal difference of the ionospheric conductivity. After constructing the local time distribution of the SC amplitude, we found that the dayside feature was seen at 18-22 h even the ionospheric conductivity is lower than that at dayside. We performed a magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) simulation for an ideal SC. The result of the simulation showed that the electric potential distribution is asymmetric with respect to the noon-midnight meridian, which is similar to our observational result. It appears to result from the divergence of the Hall current under the non-uniform ionospheric conductivity near the terminator as well as the auroral region.