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The effect of the Region 2 currents location on the strength of the auroral electrojet and global distribution of ionospheric currents
  • Sonya Lyatsky,
  • Natalia Buzulukova
Sonya Lyatsky
Catholic University of America

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Natalia Buzulukova
NASA GSFC - University of Maryland,Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology,Moscow Space Research Instititute (IKI)
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In this study, we use a parametrized model of ionospheric electrodynamics to investigate the effect of Region 2 currents’ location on the development and dynamics of the auroral electrojet (AE), using real cases data as input parameters for our simulations. We calculated the maps of equivalent ionospheric currents reproducing the events of interest, analyzed the results and compared with SuperMAG observations. The simulations have shown that strong R2 currents provide a robust closure for the ionospheric currents flowing from R1 via auroral zone ionosphere. We found that the highest magnitude westward auroral electrojet is in the day-to-dawn sector, while the equivalent ionospheric currents on the night-side have much lower magnitude. We suggest that the location of the R2 currents affects the entire distribution of ionospheric currents, changing the MLT location and magnitude of the maximum auroral electrojet. As the distance between the location of the maxima for the R1 and R2 current systems increases, the magnitude of the ionospheric currents decreases because the ionospheric currents spread over larger regions at low latitudes. When R2 currents cannot provide the proper closure, the ionospheric currents flow from the dawn to dusk over the night-side ionosphere, leading to the westward auroral electrojet development in the night region of the auroral zone. We analyzed features and magnitude of these currents and compared with observations.