loading page

A statistical study of the subauroral polarization stream over North American sector using the Millstone Hill incoherent scatter radar 1979--2019 measurements
  • +4
  • Ercha Aa,
  • Philip J Erickson,
  • Shun-Rong Zhang,
  • Shasha Zou,
  • Anthea J Coster,
  • Larisa P. Goncharenko,
  • John C Foster
Ercha Aa
National Space Science Center, Chinese Academy of Sciences

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

Author Profile
Philip J Erickson
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Author Profile
Shun-Rong Zhang
MIT Haystack Observatory
Author Profile
Shasha Zou
University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
Author Profile
Anthea J Coster
MIT Haystack Observatory
Author Profile
Larisa P. Goncharenko
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Haystack Observatory
Author Profile
John C Foster
MIT Haystack Observatory
Author Profile


This work conducts a statistical study of the subauroral polarization stream (SAPS) feature in the North American sector using Millstone Hill incoherent scatter radar measurements from 1979 to 2019, which provides a comprehensive SAPS climatology using a significantly larger database of radar observations than was used in seminal earlier works. Key features of SAPS and associated Ne/Ti/Te are investigated using a superposed epoch analysis method. The characteristics of these parameters are investigated with respect to magnetic local time, season, geomagnetic activity, solar activity, and interplanetary magnetic field orientation, respectively. The main results are as follows: (1) Conditions for SAPS are more favorable for dusk than near midnight, for winter compared to summer, for active geomagnetic periods compared to quiet time, for solar minimum compared to solar maximum, and for IMF conditions with negative By and negative Bz. (2) SAPS is usually associated with a midlatitude trough of 15–20\% depletion in the background density. The SAPS-related trough is more pronounced in the postmidnight sector and near the equinoxes. (3) Subauroral ion and electron temperatures exhibit a 3–8\% (50–120 K) enhancement in SAPS regions, which tend to have higher percentage enhancement during geomagnetically active periods and at midnight. Ion temperature enhancements are more favored during low solar activity periods, while the electron temperature enhancement remains almost constant as a function of the solar cycle. (4) The electron thermal content, Te \times Ne, in the SAPS associated region is strongly dependent on 1/Ne, with Te exhibiting a negative correlation with respect to $Ne$.
Oct 2020Published in Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics volume 125 issue 10. 10.1029/2020JA028584