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Annales Geophysicae An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 23, issue 6
Ann. Geophys., 23, 2171-2182, 2005
https://doi.org/10.5194/angeo-23-2171-2005
© Author(s) 2005. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Ann. Geophys., 23, 2171-2182, 2005
https://doi.org/10.5194/angeo-23-2171-2005
© Author(s) 2005. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

  15 Sep 2005

15 Sep 2005

Creation of the substorm current wedge through the perturbation of the directly driven current system: a new model for substorm expansion

G. Rostoker1 and E. Friedrich*,1 G. Rostoker and E. Friedrich
  • 1Department of Physics, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, T6G 2J1, Canada
  • *now at: NSERC Postdoctoral Fellow at University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Abstract. The past four decades have seen a considerable amount of research on the study of magnetospheric substorms, and over most of these years the expansive phase of the substorm has been associated with the development of a three dimensional current system that has been termed the substorm current wedge. This current system has been thought to be a consequence of the short-circuiting of crosstail current through the ionosphere, and is viewed as a distinctive current system operating independently from the directly driven current with which it co-exists. The purpose of this paper is to show that the substorm current wedge should be viewed as an equivalent current system rather than a real current system. It will be shown that the magnetic perturbation pattern associated with the current wedge can be modeled as purely a perturbation of the directly driven current system in the midnight sector.

Keywords. Magnetospheric physics (Auroral phenomena; Current systems; Magnetotail; Storms and substorms

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