Storm-time electron density enhancement in the cleft ion fountain

N. Kitamura, Y. Nishimura, M. O. Chandler, T. E. Moore, N. Terada, T. Ono, A. Shinbori, A. Kumamoto

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6 Citations (Scopus)


To determine the characteristics and origin of observed storm-time electron density enhancements in the polar cap, and to investigate the spatial extent (noon-midnight direction) of associated O+ ion outflows, we analyzed nearly simultaneous observations of such electron density enhancements from the Akebono satellite and ion upflows from the Polar satellite during a geomagnetic storm occurring on 6 April 2000. The Akebono satellite observed substantial electron density enhancements by a factor of ∼10-90 with a long duration of ∼15 h at ∼2 RE in the southern polar region. The Polar satellite outflow measurements in the northern polar cap at ∼7-4 RE exhibited velocity filtering of the ∼100 eV to ∼0 eV (from the spacecraft potential) ion outflow from the cleft ion fountain, with resultant temperatures declining from ∼3 eV to 0.03 eV with increasing distance from the cusp. Similar velocity filtering was detected in the southern polar cap at ∼1.8-3.5 RE. The region of O+ ion outflows with fluxes exceeding 5×108/cm2/s (mapped to 1000 km altitude) extended ∼10 MLAT (∼1000 km) at the ionosphere from the cusp/cleft into the dayside polar cap at ∼2.5 RE. These coordinated Akebono-Polar observations are consistent with the development of storm-time electron density enhancements in the polar cap as a result of the bulk outflow of low-energy plasma as part of the cleft ion fountain. The large spatial scale, large ion fluxes, and the long duration indicate significant supply of very-low-energy O+ ions to the magnetosphere through this region.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberA11212
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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