Propagation of Pi2 pulsations in a dipole model of the magnetosphere

R. L. Lysak, Y. Song, M. D. Sciffer, C. L. Waters

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Localized fast flows that impinge on the inner magnetosphere from the plasma sheet are observed to oscillate on time scales of minutes. The compression ahead of these flows will launch fast mode waves, while the velocity shears at the edges of these flows directly excite shear Alfvén waves. These waves, which are coupled by gradients in the Alfvén speed, have been suggested as a source for the Pi1 and Pi2 waves that are observed at both high and low latitudes in the ionosphere. A new three-dimensional simulation of the propagation of ULF waves in the dipolar region of the magnetosphere has been developed to study these coupled wave modes. This model includes a height-resolved ionospheric conductivity so that ionospheric fields can be more realistically determined, as well as a direct calculation of ground magnetic fields to compare with ground magnetometers using an inductive ionosphere model. Results from this model show that a plasmaspheric resonance can be set up by waves with periods about 1 min and that field line resonances can be excited both inside and outside the plasmasphere. The use of the inductive ionosphere model leads to the conclusion that even a uniform Hall conductivity can break the dawn-dusk symmetry of the convection pattern. Waves from a source at 10 Earth radii reach the ionosphere with time delays between high and low latitudes of tens of seconds, with implications for the timing of substorm phenomena observed by spacecraft and by ground magnetometers and radars.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)355-367
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2015

Bibliographical note

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©2014. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.


  • Pi2 pulsations
  • ULF waves
  • magnetosphere-ionosphere coupling


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