© European Geosciences Union 2008
The Hall current system revealed as a statistical significant pattern during fast flows
1Department of Physics and Technology, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway
2Space Research Institute, Austrian Academy of Sciences, Graz, Austria
3Max-Planck-Institut für Extraterrestrische Physik, Garching, Germany
Abstract. We have examined the dawn-dusk component of the magnetic field, BY, in the night side current sheet during fast flows in the neutral sheet. 237 h of Cluster data from the plasma sheet between 2 August 2002 and 2 October 2002 have been analysed. The spatial pattern of BY as a function of the distance from the centre of the current sheet has been estimated by using a Harris current sheet model. We have used the average slopes of these patterns to estimate earthward and tailward currents. For earthward fast flows there is a tailward current in the inner central plasma sheet and an earthward current in the outer central plasma sheet on average. For tailward fast flows the currents are oppositely directed. These observations are interpreted as signatures of Hall currents in the reconnection region or as field aligned currents which are connected with these currents. Although fast flows often are associated with a dawn-dusk current wedge, we believe that we have managed to filter out such currents from our statistical patterns.