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The Polar Cap (PC) index combination, PCC: relations to solar wind properties and global magnetic disturbances
  • Peter Stauning
Peter Stauning
Danish Meteorological Institute

Corresponding Author:pst@dmi.dk

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The non-negative Polar Cap PCC index built from PCN (North) and PCS (South) indices correlates better with the solar wind merging electric field and is more representative for the total energy input from the solar wind to the magnetosphere and for the development of geomagnetic disturbances represented by the Kp index and ring current indices than either of the hemispheric indices. The present work shows that the ring current index, Dst, to a high degree of accuracy can be derived from a source function built from PCC indices. The integration of the PCC-based source function throughout the interval from 1992 to 2018 without attachment to the real Dst indices based on low latitude magnetic observations has generated equivalent Dst values that correlate very well (R=0.86) with the real Dst index values, which are represented with a mean deviation less than 1 nT and an overall rms deviation less than 13 nT. The precise correlation between the real and equivalent Dst values has been used to correct the PCC indices for saturation effects at high intensity disturbance conditions where the Dst index may take values beyond-100 nT. The relations between PCC and the ring current indices, Dst and ASY-H have been used, in addition, to derive the precise timing between polar cap convection processes reflected in the polar cap indices and the formation of the partial and total ring current systems. Building the ring current is considered to represent the energy input from the solar wind, which also powers auroral disturbance processes such as substorms and upper atmosphere heating. With current available PC indices, detailed and accurate SYM-H or Dst index values could be derived up to nearly one hour ahead of actual time by integration of the PCC-based source function from any previous quiet state. Thus, the PCC indices enabling accurate estimates of the energy input from the solar wind are powerful tools for space weather monitoring and for solar-terrestrial research. 1. Introduction. In the early Space Age, Dungey (1961) formulated the concept of magnetic merging processes taking place at the front of the magnetosphere between the Interplanetary Magnetic Field (IMF), when southward oriented, and the geomagnetic field, followed by the draping of the combined field over the pole and reconnection processes in the tail region, where the solar wind magnetic fields as well as the geomagnetic fields were restored. The model implies a two-cell convection system, where the high-latitude antisunward ionospheric and magnetospheric plasma drift across the polar cap and the return flow in a sunward motion along auroral latitudes generate the two-cell “forward convection” patterns, now termed DP2. Later, Dungey (1963) extended his model to include cases where IMF is northward (NBZ conditions),