An investigation of the nature of a Pc5 pulsation event using SuperDARN and magnetometer data

  • Zolile Mtumela School of Chemistry and Physics, University of KwaZuluNatal, Durban, South Africa
  • Judy A.E. Stephenson School of Chemistry and Physics, University of KwaZuluNatal, Durban, South Africa
  • Anthony D.M. Walker School of Chemistry and Physics, University of KwaZuluNatal, Durban, South Africa
Keywords: magnetospheric physics, MHD waves, geomagnetic pulsations, polar ionosphere, HF radars

Abstract

Pc5 pulsations are global magnetohydrodynamic events in the magnetosphere. We employed an Automated Pulsation Finder program to identify significant Pc5 pulsation events in SuperDARN radar data. The event presented here was visible in the Goose Bay, Saskatoon and Þykkvibaer high-frequency radars, located in the northern polar region. These observations were coordinated with magnetometers within their field of view. These two instrument types – radars and magnetometers – complement each other. These observations represent a significant fraction of the globe in longitude. Pulsation studies of this nature are rare in the literature. Combining these two instrument types, we investigated the nature of the pulsation and determined its qualitative polarisation characteristics. A complex demodulation technique was employed to determine amplitude and phase relationships between field components observed by the radars and magnetometers, which, in turn, afforded resolution of other characteristics of pulsations, such as wave number and phase velocity. The results are discussed in the context of the magnetohydrodynamic theory of magnetic pulsations, speculating on its generation mechanism. Investigation of this mechanism will be the subject of a future publication.

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Published
2015-03-31