The Variation of Resonating Magnetospheric Field Lines With Changing Geomagnetic and Solar Wind Conditions

S. J. Wharton*, D. M. Wright, T. K. Yeoman, M. K. James, Jasmine Sandhu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
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Standing ultralow frequency waves redistribute energy and momentum around the Earth's magnetosphere. The eigenfrequencies of these standing waves can be measured by applying the cross-phase technique to ground magnetometer data. To make a detection, the flux tubes in the vicinity of the magnetometers must all be driven at their local eigenfrequencies by a source with a sufficient frequency width. Therefore, successful measurement of the local eigenfrequencies indicates that a broadband source is exciting the flux tubes. We have analyzed 10 years of magnetometer data with an automated cross-phase algorithm and used correlations with the OMNI data set to understand under what conditions broadband excitation occurs and how the conditions affect the eigenfrequency values. This is the largest such survey of its kind to date. We found that lower eigenfrequencies at higher latitudes (L>5) and higher eigenfrequencies at lower latitudes (L<4) were excited under different conditions. It was also possible to directly compare the first and third harmonics at midlatitudes. The lower eigenfrequencies were excited during more disturbed conditions, and we suggest that these harmonics are driven by solar wind pressure pulses or the Kelvin-Helmholtz instability at the magnetopause. The higher eigenfrequencies were excited when the magnetosphere was relatively quiet, and we suggest that the cause was waves generated upstream of the Earth's bow shock. The eigenfrequencies were observed to decrease in the middle magnetosphere during disturbed intervals. This is because the intensification of the ring current weakens the magnetic field. Variations in magnetic local time and latitude were also investigated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5353-5375
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics
Issue number7
Early online date16 Jul 2019
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2019
Externally publishedYes


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