Jovian magnetosphere-ionosphere current system characterized by diurnal variation of ionospheric conductance

Chihiro Tao, Hitoshi Fujiwara, Yasumasa Kasaba

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


We developed a new numerical model of the Jovian magnetosphere-ionosphere coupling current system in order to investigate the effects of diurnal variation of ionospheric conductance. The conductance is determined by ion chemical processes that include the generation of hydrogen and hydrocarbon ions by solar EUV radiation and auroral electrons precipitation. The model solves the torque equations for magnetospheric plasma accelerated by the radial currents flowing along the magnetospheric equator. The conductance and magnetospheric plasma then change the field-aligned currents (FACs) and the intensity of the electric field projected onto the ionosphere. Because of the positive feedback of the ionospheric conductance on the FAC, the FAC is the maximum on the dayside and minimum just before sunrise. The power transferred from the planetary rotation is mainly consumed in the upper atmosphere on the dayside, while it is used for magnetospheric plasma acceleration in other local time (LT) sectors. Further, our simulations show that the magnetospheric plasma density and mass flux affect the temporal variation in the peak FAC density. The enhancement of the solar EUV flux by a factor of 2.4 increases the FAC density by 30%. The maximum density of the FAC is determined not only by the relationship between the precipitating electron flux and ionospheric conductance, but also by the system inertia, i.e., the inertia of the magnetospheric plasma. A theoretical analysis and numerical simulations reveal that the FAC density is in proportion to the planetary angular velocity on the dayside and to the square of the planetary angular velocity on the nightside. When the radial current at the outer boundary is fixed at values above 30 MA, as assumed in previous model studies, the peak FAC density determined at latitude 73°-74° is larger than the diurnal variable component. This result suggests large effects of this assumed radial current at the outer boundary on the system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)351-364
Number of pages14
JournalPlanetary and Space Science
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2010 Feb


  • Aurora
  • Field-aligned current
  • Jupiter
  • Magnetosphere-ionosphere coupling
  • Solar EUV response


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