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Annales Geophysicae An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 19, issue 9
Ann. Geophys., 19, 1107-1118, 2001
https://doi.org/10.5194/angeo-19-1107-2001
© Author(s) 2001. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Ann. Geophys., 19, 1107-1118, 2001
https://doi.org/10.5194/angeo-19-1107-2001
© Author(s) 2001. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

  30 Sep 2001

30 Sep 2001

Time derivative of the horizontal geomagnetic field as an activity indicator

A. Viljanen, H. Nevanlinna, K. Pajunpää, and A. Pulkkinen A. Viljanen et al.
  • Finnish Meteorological Institute, Geophysical Research Division, P.O. Box 503, FIN-00101 Helsinki, Finland

Abstract. Geomagnetically induced currents (GICs) in technological conductor systems are a manifestation of the ground effects of space weather. Large GICs are always associated with large values of the time derivative of the geomagnetic field, and especially with its horizontal component (dH/dt). By using the IMAGE magnetometer data from northern Europe from 1982 to 2001, we show that large dH/dt’s (exceeding 1 nT/s) primarily occur during events governed by westward ionospheric currents. However, the directional distributions of dH/dt are much more scattered than those of the simultaneous baseline subtracted horizontal variation field vector ΔH. A pronounced difference between ΔH and dH/dt takes place at about 02–06 MLT in the auroral region when dH/dt prefers an east-west orientation, whereas ΔH points to the south. The occurrence of large dH/dt has two daily maxima, one around the local magnetic midnight, and another in the morning. There is a single maximum around the midnight only at the southernmost IMAGE stations. An identical feature is observed when large GICs are considered. The yearly number of large dH/dt values in the auroral region follows quite closely the aa index, but a clear variation from year-to-year is observed in the directional distributions. The scattering of dH/dt distributions is smaller during descending phases of the sunspot cycle. Seasonal variations are also seen, especially in winter dH/dt  is more concentrated to the north-south direction than at other times. The results manifest the importance of small-scale structures of ionospheric currents when GICs are considered. The distribution patterns of dH/dt cannot be explained by any simple sheet-type model of (westward) ionospheric currents, but rapidly changing north-south currents and field-aligned currents must play an important role.

Key words. Geomagnetism and paleomagnetism (geomagnetic induction; rapid time variations) - Ionosphere (ionospheric disturbances)

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