Substorm electric fields at nightside low latitude

Friday, 19 December 2014
Kumiko K. Hashimoto, Kibi International University, Okayama, Japan, Takashi Kikuchi, Kyoto University, Research Institute for Sustainable Humanosphere, Kyoto, Japan, Ichiro Tomizawa, University of Electro-Communications, Center for Space Science and Radio Engineering, Tokyo, Japan and Tsutomu Nagatsuma, NICT National Institute of Information and Communications Technology, Tokyo, Japan
The convection electric field penetrates from the polar ionosphere to low latitude and drives the DP2 currents in the global ionosphere with an intensified equatorial electrojet (EEJ). The electric field often reverses its direction, that is, the overshielding occurs and causes the equatorial counterelectrojet (CEJ) during storm and substorms. In this paper we report that the overshielding electric field is detected by the HF Doppler sounders at low latitude on the nightside. We analyzed the Doppler frequency of the HF radio signals propagated over 120 km in Japan at frequencies of 5 and 8 MHz and compared with the equatorial EEJ/CEJ during the substorm expansion phase. We found that the overshielding electric field reaches around 2 mV/m during major substorms (AL <-1800 nT). Taking the geometrical attenuation into account, we estimate the equatorial electric field to be about 1.5 mV/m. We also found that the correlation coefficient was 0.94 between the overshielding electric field and eastward equatorial electrojet at YAP on the night side. The electric field drives the eastward electrojets in the equatorial ionosphere on the night side. It is to be noted that the overshielding electric field is observed on the nightside at low latitude during the major substorms, while the convection electric field is dominant during smaller size substorms, as the CEJ flows on the dayside. These results suggest that the overshielding electric field associated with the Region-2 field-aligned currents becomes dominant during substorms at low latitude on the nightside as well as on the dayside.