Principle Component Analysis of Birkeland Currents Determined by the Active Magnetosphere and Planetary Electrodynamics Response Experiment

Thursday, 17 December 2015
Poster Hall (Moscone South)
Stephen E Milan, University of Leicester, Leicester, LE1, United Kingdom, Jennifer A Carter, University of Leicester, Leicester, United Kingdom, Haje Korth, Applied Physics Laboratory Johns Hopkins, Laurel, MD, United States and Brian J Anderson, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, United States
Principle Component Analysis is performed on northern and southern hemisphere Birkeland or field-aligned current (FAC) measurements from the Active Magnetosphere and Planetary Electrodynamics Response Experiment (AMPERE). PCA identifies the patterns in the FACs that respond coherently to different aspects of geomagnetic activity. The region 1 and 2 current system is shown to be the most reproducible feature of the currents, followed by cusp currents associated with magnetic tension forces on newly-reconnected field lines. The cusp currents are strongly modulated by season, indicating that their strength is regulated by the ionospheric conductance at the foot of the field lines. PCA does not identify a pattern that is clearly characteristic of a substorm current wedge. Rather, a superposed epoch analysis of the currents associated with substorms demonstrates that there is not a single mode of response, but a complicated and subtle mixture of different patterns. Other interhemispheric differences are discussed.